Property Management Blog

Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Fort Collins, Colorado

System - Friday, November 15, 2019

Do you want to learn more about the landlord-tenant laws in Colorado?

They protect the rights of landlords and tenants alike, as well as states the landlord responsibilities and tenant responsibilities. When you understand the Colorado landlord-tenant laws, you can solve the majority of problems before taking legal action.

Here are the major rights and responsibilities spelled out by the Colorado landlord-tenant laws.

Security Deposit Colorado Laws

There is no security deposit limit according to Colorado landlord-tenant law, and there are no additional limits in Fort Collins. When a tenant moves out, the Colorado landlord has to return the tenant's security deposit within 60 days.

The landlord needs to send their tenant an itemized list of reasons and costs as an explanation of why they did not return the security deposit. Landlords need to present this list within a month after the tenant vacates the rental unit.

The security deposits may cover lost revenue and damage. Here are some possible reasons for deduction:


  • There is unpaid rent / the tenant fails to pay rent 
  • There is property damage that is not part of normal wear and tear
  • The tenant breaks the lease early

Read this post for more on security deposit laws.

Occupancy Ordinance in Fort Collins

Landlords have to comply with the Fort Collins occupancy ordinance. This statute limits the number of occupants in any residential unit. Here are the possible occupancy scenarios:

a) Two adults and their dependents (if any) AND one additional person

b) One family AND one additional person

In this context, families consist of any number of people all of whom may be related by...

  1. Adoption
  2. Blood
  3. Guardianship
  4. Marriage
  5. Other authorized custodial relationship

Fair Housing Act in Colorado

The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) ensures that everyone has equal opportunities in the housing market. This act gives rights to protected classes, including national origin, religion, color, and race.


Landlords may not discriminate against any of the established classes. There are many potentially discriminatory actions. For example, landlords could provide false information about housing availability, or they might quote different prices depending on the person's background or identity.

Landlord retaliation in Fort Collins, CO

Any act of retaliation is illegal under Colorado rental laws. There are many possible reasons why a landlord might retaliate against a Colorado tenant. For example, the renter joined a union, or they complained to the local housing department.

Here are some landlord actions that would be considered acts of retaliation:

  • Raise rent
  • Changing the locks without providing keys
  • Decreasing the availability of services
  • Removing the tenant's possessions from the unit
  • Harassing the tenant through any medium, including chat messages
  • Choosing not to provide necessary maintenance or repairs

Landlord's right to access in Colorado

Tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property according to the state laws, which is why landlords are unable to enter the rental property as they wish. However, there is no statute regarding notice of entry in Colorado. In most cases, 24 hours' notice is a reasonable timeline. The entry times need to be “reasonable” as well.

Colorado landlords may enter to show the unit to prospective renters or buyers. Landlords should get to perform maintenance and repair responsibilities after serving their Colorado tenants proper written notice.


Landlords will not need permission for entry when they have solid evidence of property abandonment. There is also the right to access with the tenant's permission—for example, if the tenants contact the landlord for help concerning an urgent issue.

Habitability in Fort Collins, CO

Under Colorado state law, the landlord has the duty of providing a habitable living space. Here are the essentials that every landlord has to provide:

  • Clean common areas
  • Trash receptacles
  • Protection from the elements
  • Functioning electricity together with climate and heat control
  • Safe floors, railings, and stairways
  • Locks on exterior doors and windows
  • Pest extermination
  • Running water and hot water
  • Plumbing and connection to sewage fixtures

Every landlord in the Fort Collins area needs to comply with building, health, and housing codes.

If a landlord fails to do so, tenants pay be able to stop paying rent. That means less rental income for you, the landlord.

Tenant's right to withhold rent payments in Fort Collins

Property owners have to provide habitable housing. Renters have the right to withhold the monthly rent payment if the building fails health, safety, and structural standards. However, before the act of withholding rent, tenants have to ensure they have proper ground to do so. Otherwise, they risk facing an eviction as they'd be making a lease violation. An eviction is when a landlord removes a tenant from the unit.

For more information on eviction laws, read our eviction post here.


Tenant's rent can be withheld if tenants wish. However, to withhold rent, they have to meet some requirements. They need to clarify the monetary limits, qualifying issues, and the type of notice needed to give to their landlord. All Colorado residential properties have an implied warranty of habitability as part of a written rental agreement or lease agreement.

Lease termination in Fort Collins, CO

How much notice do landlords have to give to their tenants to terminate their lease or end the tenancy? 

Under Colorado law, this depends on the length of the lease agreement or rental agreement:

  • A lease agreement that is less than a week: The landlord has to give the tenant one day.
  • Lease agreements that are longer than a week but less than a month: The landlord has to give the tenant three days.
  • Rental agreements that are longer than a month but less than six months: The landlord has to give the tenant seven days.
  • Leases that are longer than six months but less than a year: The landlord has to give the tenant 28 days.
  • Leases that are for one year or longer: The landlord has to give the tenant 91 days to vacate the premises after lease termination.

So, the length of the lease determines how much notice landlords have to give their tenants to terminate their lease and end the tenancy.

The Bottom Line: Colorado Landlord-Tenant Law

Both landlords and tenants benefit from understanding the landlord-tenant laws in Colorado. When each party knows their rights and responsibilities, there is less risk of facing costly legal disputes.

There are many aspects of landlord-tenant regulations. When you are not sure how to interpret more complicated nuances, consult with a qualified attorney. An attorney would know all the relevant laws and help you stay compliant. Alternatively, hire a professional management company like us.

Contact us today for more information on the landlord-tenant law or other laws in Colorado.

Disclaimer: This isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. This law, other local laws, as well as state and federal laws can change. For expert help, kindly consider hiring a qualified attorney or an experienced management company in Colorado.

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