ColoradoCivil Code allows landlords to charge tenants a refundable security deposit—there isn’t a maximum limit for most rentals, except for up to two months’ rent for mobile home parks. Your landlord needs to return your deposit within one month of the end of your lease agreement.
One of the more annoying parts of being a tenant is paying security deposits—it’s a significant expense you have to pay before moving in, and getting it back from your landlord after moving out can be difficult. Security deposit laws are different across states, which can make it tricky when you’re trying to learn about your rights as a tenant.
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What is Colorado law on security deposits?
Security deposits made by tenants in Colorado are non-refundable deposits paid to confirm their intent to move into a rental property. You can typically expect to have your money returned at the end of your lease—unless you breach your contract with your landlord.
Colorado Revised Statutes Title 38 Property Real and Personal 38-12-102-104lay out the rules regarding security deposits for the state, including when they need to be returned to the tenant and when a landlord is permitted to withhold any amount.
What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Colorado?
For most rental properties in Colorado, there are no maximum limits on security deposits. There are security deposit limits placed on mobile home parks: landlords can only charge a deposit equal to one month’s rent for standard units and up to two months’ rent for multi-wide units.
Keep in mind that landlords can charge security deposits in addition to the first month’s rent. You could be paying well over double your rent payment when you move in, depending on how much your landlord requires for your security deposit.
An important thing to remember is that your entire security deposit is refundable. If you are charged for a security deposit and your landlord tries to tell you it is nonrefundable, move forward with plenty of caution—and get in touch with a lawyer.
How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Colorado?
When your lease comes to an end and you return the keys to your landlord, they have 30 days to return your security deposit. If there is an agreement in place for the security deposit to be returned in a longer period, it must be returned in no more than 60 days. This period gives your landlord a chance to inspect the rental to their satisfaction.
What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Colorado?
Security deposits are still refundable, but landlords are legally allowed to withhold all or part of your deposit to cover the following expenses:
- Damage exceeding the typical wear and tear
- Unpaid rent
- Cleaning costs to restore the property’s original condition
What kind of damage goes beyond normal wear and tear? This is a legal gray area, but it usually refers to damage that could have been avoided in a normal course of living at the property. Damage caused by neglect and irresponsible use is included, so you’ll be responsible if you accidentally put a hole in the wall.
If your landlord does withhold any amount of your security deposit, they are required to send you an itemized list breaking down the deductions—they can’t keep your money without an explanation.
Key Takeaway Security deposits paid by Colorado tenants must be refundable, but landlords are legally allowed to withhold the deposit if you don’t pay rent or damage the property.
How to get your security deposit back in Colorado
Did you move out of your old apartment a month ago and never receive your security deposit? Here is how you can get back the money your landlord owes you.
First, you’ll want to contact your landlord in writing to request the return of your security deposit. They may have simply forgotten to send it to you, or there could have been a problem with your new mailing address. Beginning with a clear, concise request can help you get your deposit back faster.
Is your landlord refusing to refund your security deposit without telling you why? Do you believe they have wrongfully withheld your deposit? One action you can take is to take them to small claims court. It may be time-consuming and stressful, but it may be worth it if you had a significant deposit.
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Can I use my security deposit as last month’s rent in Colorado?
No. You need to pay your last month’s rent as normal, and then you can get your deposit when your lease is up.
Can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning in Colorado?
Your landlord can only charge you for carpet cleaning if the carpet is dirty or damaged more than expected from the usual wear and tear.