Navigating Colorado's Updated Landlord-Tenant Laws in 2023

Colorado, a state known for its diverse landscapes and growing cities, has been at the forefront of adapting its laws to accommodate the evolving needs of landlords and tenants. As of August 2023, significant changes have been made to the landlord-tenant laws in the state, aimed at fostering fair and transparent relationships between property owners and renters.


Portable Screening Report:


  • Prior to taking any rental application, Landlords must advise applicants that they have a right to provide a portable tenant screening report.


  • The Landlord cannot charge a screening fee if the report is provided. In addition, a Landlord cannot charge different fees for different tenants.
  • Landlord disclosure language must appear in: 
    • All advertisements of the unit available in 12 point bold faced font
    • On the application (online or paper)
    • Verbally to the tenant with written confirmation of this advisement
  • Screening report requirements:
    • Must have been completed within 30 days.
    • Landlord cannot be charged a fee to access the report.
    • Landlord can require Tenant to state that there have been no material changes in the report .
  • Exemption:
    • If the Landlord only accepts one application at a time, they can require an applicant to pay a fee to run their own background check, but it must be refunded within 25 days if the application is not accepted by the Landlord.
  • Denials:
    • The Landlord must provide decline letters to tenants with a copy of the screening report.
    • If the Landlord used a consumer credit report, they must provide the report along with disclosure to tenant of the Tenant’s rights to dispute the report with the Consumer Credit Agency.
    • Violation may result in a $2,500 fine, plus court costs. If the Landlord is notified of the violation within 7 days and cures the violation (e.g. refunding the application fee cost), the Landlord will only owe the Tenant $50.


Income and Credit Applications:

  • Income requirements:
    • A Landlord may not require an applicant to have an annual income that exceeds 200% of the annual rent. This is a change from previous laws requiring applicants to have an annual income that equals or exceeds 300% of annual rent.

  • If an applicant receives housing assistance, the Landlord cannot consider or inquire about their credit score, or credit evens, unless the Landlord is required by federal law to consider credit.
    • Landlords working under income restricted housing can inquire about an applicant’s credit.

  • Violations:
    • Violation of any of these new laws requires Landlord to pay aggrieved party $50, unless the violation is not cured. If it is not cured, there is additional $2,500 penalty to be paid to the aggrieved party + economic damages, court costs and attorney fees.

    • This would be considered a violation of Fair Housing Laws.


Pet Ownership:


  • Limited Pet Fees:

    • New law limits pet security deposit to $300, which MUST BE refundable.

    • Pet rent is limited to the greater of $35 per month or 1.5% of the monthly rent.

    • Not changed BUT these fees cannot be required if an animal meets the HUD guidelines for an emotional support animal or service animal

  • New Law Restricts Insurance Companies

    • Insurance cannot automatically deny a specific breed request repairs in writing, and landlords must respond within a reasonable timeframe.


Eviction Procedures:


  • Eviction processes are now more tenant-friendly. Before initiating eviction proceedings, landlords must provide tenants with written notice outlining the issue and offering the opportunity to remedy it within 10 days.

  • Additionally, tenants facing eviction now have the right to a legal defense if they can show that the landlord failed to maintain the property properly.


Prohibited Lease Provisions:

  • Certain lease provisions are now explicitly prohibited, including:
    • Waiving the right to a jury trial.

    • Restricts ability to bring class action.

    • Waiving implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings.

    • Waiving implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.

    • Require tenants to pay the landlord’s attorney fees (one-way shifting clause).

      • All prevailing party clauses must state “following a determination by the court that the party prevailed and that the fee is reasonable”.

    • Eviction penalties.

    • Provision that charges a penalty to a tenant if Tenant does not give their notice for non-renewal.

      • You can still require notice, but you cannot charge a fee.

      • You can charge for ACTUAL losses from Tenant’s failure to provide notice (e.g. if they didn’t move out for 15 days, you could charge half month’s rent for the losses).

    • Characterizing certain charges as “rent” that are in fact not rent (utilities), in which non-payment of which could lead to eviction.

      • You are NO LONGER able to evict tenants who are not paying utilities, because they are not considered “rent”.

      • Unpaid utilities must be taken out of security deposit at the end of the lease.

    • Excessive mark-ups that would make the tenant pay a mark-up above what a third party service provider would charge the Landlord. Excessive is defined as more than 2% of the billed amount or a fee that doesn’t exceed $10 per month (e.g. stop check fee).


Radon Disclosure/Mitigation:


  • Requires sellers and landlords of residential Colorado real estate to provide a radon warning statement in contracts and leases.
  • Requires certain disclosures regarding the known existence of radon in the property.
    • Includes brochure

  • Requires mitigation within 180 days of high test.
  • If a Landlord or property manager fails to provide the necessary disclosures or fails to make a reasonable effort to mitigate radon concentrations of more than 4 pCi/L, the Tenant may void their lease and vacate the premises in accordance with Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability laws.


Mandatory Mediation Before Filing for Eviction:

  • Landlords and Tenants must participate in mandatory mediation prior to initiating an eviction action in Court, if the residential tenant receives supplemental security income, federal social security disability insurance, or cash assistance through the Colorado works program (cash assistance).
    • Does not apply if:

      • Residential Tenant did not disclose or declined to disclose in writing to the landlord that the residential tenant receives cash assistance,

      • The landlord is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers their tenants opportunities for mediation,

      • Or the Landlord has 5 or fewer single-family rental homes and no more than 5 total rental units.

    • Landlords should use the Office of Dispute Resolution to schedule mediation (can be scheduled within 15 days).

    • Landlord pays for mediation, it is free for the Tenant.

These changes to Colorado’s landlord-tenant laws reflect the state’s commitment to balancing the rights and responsibilities of both parties. For more detailed information or specific legal advice, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney well-versed in Colorado’s housing laws. By staying informed and complying with these regulations, both landlords and tenants can foster healthier, more transparent rental relationships.