As a landlord in Colorado, it’s important to make sure that your rental business is safe from any potential legal trouble down the line. The first step to ensuring that your business practices are compliant is educating yourself about Colorado landlord tenant laws.
This article is a great place to start. Let’s look at some of the most important things to know about property management law in your state.
Colorado Expands on Federal Fair Housing Protections
You may be aware of the federal Fair Housing Act. Passed in 1968, the act illegalizes any form of housing discrimination by landlords or real estate agents based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability.
However, it is also very important to know that the Colorado fair housing actadds on to these protections. In the state, you are also prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran or military status, and ancestry. This is especially important to keep in mind during the tenant screening process as you look for new residents for your property.
Rent Control is Banned
In Colorado, there cannot be a legal limit placed on how much you are able to charge your tenants for rent. However, the law does outline that if you intend to raise your tenant’s rent, you must give them at least 60 days’ notice.
There is a Limit on Late Fees
Though you can theoretically charge whatever you see as most beneficial for rent, Colorado state law outlines a limit for the amount that can be charged as a penalty for late or missing rent payments.
The maximum amount a landlord can charge for late fees is the greater value between $50 and 5% of the monthly rent amount. Since the median monthly rent price in Colorado is $2,250, the latter option of 5% (which would be $112.50 in that case) is very likely to be the greater value of the two.
Colorado Requires a Seven-Day Grace Period
State law dictates that you cannot start charging late fees right away, however. Once the rent collection date has passed, you are required to give your tenants a seven-day grace period, during which they can submit a late rent payment without being charged late fees. Only after this week-long period has passed can you begin charging fees to those that have still not submitted a payment.
You Must Issue a Rent Demand Notice Before You Can Evict a Tenant
If you have a tenant who is repeatedly failing to make their rent payments, Colorado laws on eviction state that you must issue a rent demand notice to that tenant before you can file for eviction on those grounds. In this rent demand notice, you are required to give the tenant a minimum of ten days to submit a payment. If they do, you cannot file for eviction.
The ten-day period of the rent demand notice also cannot overlap with the seven-day grace period. You may charge late fees during this period but, in all, a tenant should have a minimum of seventeen days after the rent collection date to submit a payment before you can file an eviction action with the court.
If there is a different lease violation evictionsimilarly cannot be filed until the tenant has been given ten days to resolve, or “cure,” the problem. If they satisfactorily do so in that time frame, you cannot file against them.
In the case of illegal activity on the property, such as violent or drug-related crime, you might issue an unconditional notice to quit, which must give the tenant a minimum of three days to move out of the property. In this circumstance, you are not required to provide the tenant an opportunity to cure their violation.
In order to establish a reliable baseline from which your business can grow, it is crucial that you avoid legal complications and make legally compliant business decisions that benefit both you and your tenants. Keeping track of the rules and regulations in your state can be a lot of work, but it is some of the most significant work you can do toward protecting investments.