Security Deposit Laws

October 24, 2022 | Bill Henry

Colorado renters face financial hardship because a landlord wasn’t aware of or did not adhere to state law. For renters, it is extremely important to understand the law and know your rights in order to avoid unnecessary security deposit drama when your lease is up. This article explores a tenant’s rights related to security deposits.

Picture of renters home after not getting their security deposit back

Colorado Tenants’ Rights 

You can use your landlord if they mishandle your security deposit when you move. In this situation, the law allows you to recover three times your initial security deposit and get your attorney’s fees paid.

This is good news if you’re renting in Colorado’s hot marketing. Thanks to state law, you are afforded certain protections when it comes to your security deposit. The law views a tenant’s security deposit as belonging to you, not your landlord. Instead, the landlord is merely in possession of it until the end of your lease. C.R.S. § 38-12-102 – 38-12-104

If you’re a landlord, this is not good news. It’s important for landlords to understand the law around security deposits to prevent misunderstandings and avoid a lawsuit.

What Landlords Should Know About Colorado Security Deposit Laws

A landlord cannot mislabel a security deposit.

Landlords cannot call the security deposit something else, such as prepaid rent or a fee. Lease language cannot state that the money is “not a security deposit,” nor can they contractually make the security deposit nonrefundable.

When can a landlord keep some/all of the security deposit?

A landlord may be able to keep a tenant’s security deposit, or a portion of it, to cover unpaid rent, utility bills, or cleaning bills. They may also use the deposit to fix any damage in excess of normal wear and tear, or if the tenant abandons the property. If a landlord deducts some/all of the security deposit, they are legally obligated to give the tenant an itemized statement that specifically lists how much is being deducted and why.

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit?

Generally, a landlord has one month from the termination of tenancy to return the security deposit unless otherwise stated in a lease agreement. However, the security deposit must be returned within 60 days.

If a landlord violates any of his or her responsibilities, such as taking some/all of the deposit without sending the tenant an itemized list or fails to return the security deposit within 60 days, then the landlord may forfeit his or her right to keep the amount of money and may be liable for further damages.

We Can Help With Your Security Deposit Issue

Our real estate attorneys can advise you regarding the facts pertaining to your case and determine how the laws discussed in this article apply to you. Call 303-688-0944 to begin a free case assessment.

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