As a Colorado Landlord, you must understand the basics governing landlord-tenant relations. Before jumping into the world of rental properties, it's smart to understand the various statutes, ordinances, caselaw, and federal law as it relates to the area you plan to invest. At VerticalRent, we've researched and summarized it for you here. Two very important aspects of investing into and owning rental properties in Colorado center around a thorough tenant screening and a state-specific residential lease agreement, both of which can be accomplished with VerticalRent.
In addition to tenant screening and lease agreements, we haev outlined four (4) key aspects outlining obligations of landlords and tenants in Colorado.
A law passed by a legislative body results in a statute. Colorado statutes governing landlord/tenant rights appear at Title 38 (Property - Real and Personal), Article 12 (Tenants and Landlords).
Part 1 of Article 12 resolves some security deposit issues, including "Wrongful Withholding." The law remains silent on
- the amount a landlord may demand,
- how the landlord should handle associated interest, and
- pet deposits.
Market conditions control these issues. Where competing landlords offer tenant-friendly terms, the wise landlord will meet those terms.
The law mandates prompt return of the deposit after a tenant moves. The landlord has one month, unless the lease states a longer period not exceeding 60 days. Sometimes, a hazardous condition triggers the tenant's move. In that case, the landlord has only 72 hours to return the deposit. Calculation time excludes weekends and holidays.
Some tenants inflict excessive filth or damage to the property. This gives the landlord a right to deduct repair costs from the security deposit. But the law allows ordinary wear and tear.
When the landlord withholds part of the security deposit, the tenant must receive a written statement. The statement must detail the landlord's precise withholding reasons. The landlord must subtract the amount withheld from the full deposit. The difference must accompany the statement. Failure to respect these mandates creates the landlord's forfeiture of withholding rights. It also sets the stage for the tenant to pursue three times the amount withheld, plus attorney fees.
As regards eviction, the landlord must secure a court order.
Part 3 prohibits "Local Control of Rents."
Part 5 declares the landlord's "Obligation to Maintain Residential Premises." In essence, the law requires premises fit for human habitation.
2. Local county/municipality ordinances
Several local ordinances add protections. This serves as a reminder to research all laws in the geographic area concerned. Boulder provides an example. State law provides no guidance to landlords about handling interest accompanying security deposits. Boulder steps into this void, deeming a security deposit the sole property of the tenant. Further, the landlord must arrange the accrual of simple interest. The landlord must also provide an accounting for interest when the lease terminates.
3. Judicial opinions ("caselaw") interpreting the above laws
Juries resolve factual issues with a verdict. Judges resolve legal issues with a decision. The court sometimes includes an opinion. The opinion explains how the court arrived at the decision. Those decisions may focus only on landlord/tenant law. Or, they may apply principles from other legal subjects, such as basic contract law.
4. Federal Law
Federal statutes and regulations provide a host of rights. This includes "civil rights." Example: a tenant has a right to uniform treatment. A landlord might discriminate against a tenant. If the reason concerns race, gender, or disability, the landlord violates federal law.