Laws Protecting Renters in Colorado

When you begin looking for a new house or apartment to rent in Denver, what rights do you have as a potential tenant? The answer to this question lies in Colorado’s landlord-tenant law, which is governed by the Colorado Statutes, Title 38, Article 12. It is important for potential renters in Denver to know that they have rights as potential tenants even before they begin renting, and they continue to have rights after they have moved into a property and have a lease agreement with a landlord. Landlord-tenant laws are just one aspects of real estate law in Colorado for which our Denver real estate lawyers can provide assistance.

While this is a relatively large area of law, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) provides a helpful handbook that explains some of the rights that tenants have in Denver when they seek a rental property. To better understand your rights, we will run through some key information for potential renters in Denver, as well as for those who may be in the middle of a dispute with a landlord.

Before You Rent, What Should You Know?

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According to the DOLA handbook, more than 30 percent of Colorado’s population is made up of renters. To put that number another way, it means that approximately 500,000 people in Colorado currently rent the places they call home. And that number may actually be growing in Denver. A recent article in The Denver Post report that renters in the city are becoming wealthier and younger as the population ages, and in general, those younger renters are paying more each month to live in an apartment in the city. A spokesperson for the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) indicated that “Denver has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the country,” and that includes new renters coming to the city. According to an NMHC fact sheet, apartment rentals make up 33 percent of all housing in Denver, totaling more than 93,000 people.

Before you rent an apartment in Denver, what rights do you have? Referring to the Colorado Statutes, the DOLA handbook explains that potential renters have the right to be treated fairly and equitably when they apply for a rental unit. This means that landlords are prohibited from asking some of the following questions:

  • What is your race, ethnicity, and/or national origin?
  • What are your religious beliefs?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have kids under the age of 18 who live with you?
  • Do you have any mental or physical disabilities?

Landlords are permitted by law to ask other questions of renters and their backgrounds, however. Some examples of permissible questions include:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • How much money do you earn?
  • What is your profession?
  • How long have you worked at your current job?

Rights After You Have Signed a Lease

As the DOLA handbook explains, tenant rights continue to apply well into the contractual period of your lease. When you rent an apartment from a landlord in Denver, you have some of the following significant rights:

  • To be given notice of a landlord’s entry into the unit unless there is an emergency;
  • To request a prompt response from the landlord when something in the rental unit needs repairs;
  • To be given notice in writing of any adjustment in the cost of rent; and
  • To have any unused portion of a security deposit returned within a certain period of time.

If you have questions about your rights as a renter in Denver or if you are involved in a dispute with your landlord, an experienced Denver real estate lawyer can assist you. Contact Robinson & Henry, P.C. today to discuss your situation. Please note that we only represent tenants in security deposit dispute cases at this time.