Colorado Rental Lease Agreements

The Colorado Rental Lease Agreements are the backbone of landlord and tenant relationships. Before tenants move into a property, they are required to sign and date the agreement, which in turn makes the contract legally binding. Ensuring every condition is read and agreeable before signatures are recorded is essential – as oftentimes, landlords are unwilling to change a condition at a later date. For those drafting or entering into a lease agreement in Colorado, ensure you are up-to-date on the lease laws by following Title 38 Article 12.

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What is a Colorado Lease Agreement?

Colorado Lease Agreement is a document that contains all terms and conditions regarding the rental of a residential or commercial property. Once signed, it also becomes a legally binding mandate that can be used to recover damages by either the landlord “lessor” or tenant “lessee” depending on who conducted the condition violation. To assist landlords in the tenant screening process, which is the first line of defense for protecting your property from damage, we recommend requiring all tenants who show interest to complete a rental application.

State Definition (§ 38-12-502) – “Rental agreement” means the agreement, written or oral, embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a residential premises.”

Types of Agreements

College Roommate (Dorm Room) Agreement – Promotes friendliness between college roommates by having them set a list of agreed-upon rules regarding the room.

Commercial Lease Agreement – To be used for landlords looking to lease their property to a current or planing-to-be business owner.

Lease to Own Agreement – Gives the tenant the option, not the requirement, to purchase the property at the end of the term.

Month-to-Month Lease – For short-term renters looking for a place they can leave with only one (1) month of notice.

Room Rental Agreement – Between tenants or a tenant and subtenant that states the requirements the new roommate is required to follow.

Standard Residential Lease Agreement – A longer-term agreement set between the owner of a property and those planning on living in it in exchange for monthly rent.

Sublease Agreement – Contract used by tenants looking to introduce a new tenant that will live in the property. All liability still placed on the original tenant.

Is Subletting Allowed?

There are no strict laws in Colorado specifically mandating whether tenants are allowed to introduce subtenants into the property. The determining factor is whether it is included in the lease agreement or not. If absent in the original contract, the tenant can sublet without risk of eviction. If you are a tenant planning on subletting in the near future, remember that the original lease will still stay in effect – if the subtenant misses a payment, the repercussions will fall on you.

Security Deposit Laws

Security Deposit Limit – There are no restrictions on the amount a landlord is required to charge for a security deposit.

Security Deposit Return [§ 38-12-103] – The landlord has one (1) month to return the security deposit. The landlord can specify a longer date in the lease agreement, although the amount of time cannot be over sixty (60) days.

Special Circumstance (Hazardous Condition) [§ 38-12-104] – If a hazardous condition is discovered in a property, the tenant is required to disclose the situation to the landlord immediately. The landlord will then have seventy-two (72) hours to have a qualified repairman fix the source of the hazard. If seventy-two (72) hours pass without the repair having occurred, the tenant can then vacate the premises, thus terminating the lease as well. The landlord will then have an additional seventy-two (72) hours to return the security deposit to the tenant. If the landlord withholds the security deposit without an appropriate reason, the tenant will be entitled to receive twice the amount of the security deposit in addition to having their attorney’s fees paid for.


According to § 38-12-301, Colorado does not allow municipalities to control the amount of rent charged – it is determined at the state level. The rent due date is typically the first (1st) of every month, although the landlord can specify a different date in the lease agreement.


To issue a three (3) day notice, the tenant must have done any one (1) of the following:

  • Violated a condition in the lease agreement
  • Failed to pay rent
  • Conducted illegal activities on the property
  • Disturbed neighboring tenants
  • Damaged the apartment or home
  • Allowed unauthorized visitors or pets to stay in the property

If the tenant has not cured the issue or evicted from the premises after three days, the landlord can then issue an eviction or FED, which stands for “Forced Entry and Detainer.” However, the landlord cannot legally evict the tenant if the issue has been resolved, such as paying the overdue rent.