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Colorado Security Deposit Laws

In most cases, when you rent an apartment or other property, you are required to provide a security deposit. The purpose of a security deposit is to protect the landlord from economic loss should the tenant break the lease or damage the property beyond normal wear and tear.

Colorado defines wear and tear as deterioration of the unit that occurs over time from normal use. It does not mean damage because of negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse by the tenant. For example, a carpet worn from being walked on is normal wear and tear, but a hole burned in the carpet from a cigarette is not.

The laws regarding security deposits vary from state to state with some states much stricter than others. Keep in mind that in addition to laws for an entire state, counties and cities often have their own laws. So, if you can't find a state law that addresses your situation, check to see if your municipality has a set of landlord/tenant laws.

Summary of Colorado Security Deposit Laws

Security deposits are important to both tenants and landlords. The tenant wants all the money back as soon as they move out. The landlord wants to retain as much of the security deposit as possible to pay for returning the rental unit back to good condition so that it can be rented out again. To see how Colorado treats this important subject, below is a summary of the relevant laws in easy to understand language.


Colorado Revised Statutes

Landlord Tenant Laws

  • Sections 13-40-101 to 123 (Rights of persons in possession)
  • Sections 38-12-101 to 601 (Interests of tenants and landlords)

Security Deposits

  • Section 38-12-102 (Definitions of security deposit and normal wear and tear)
  • Section 38-12-103 (Return of the security deposit)
  • Section 38-12-104 (Security deposits and hazardous condition)
  • Section 38-12-207 (Security deposits for mobile home parks)
Landlord Duties

Maximum Deposit Amount

  • Colorado has no maximum limit on security deposits for most rentals.
  • There is a limit on security deposits for mobile home parks: one month's rent or two months for multidewide units

Storage of Deposit

  • There is no state statute on the storage of security deposits

Deductions From Deposit

  • No deductions for normal wear and tear
  • Written statement required as to reasons for retaining a portion of the security deposit

Reasons Landlord Can Withhold Deposit

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Abandonment of the premises
  • Nonpayment of utilities
  • Repair work beyond normal wear and tear
  • Cleaning and cleaning services
Return of Deposit

Time Limit

  • One month after termination of a lease or surrender and acceptance of premises
  • No more than 60 days if there is an agreement for a longer period of time

Failure to Return Deposit

  • The tenant may begin a security deposit action to recover the funds.
  • The landlord may be liable for triple the security deposit, along with attorney fees and court costs

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Security Deposit Laws: Related Resources

Questions About Colorado Security Deposit Laws? Ask an Attorney

The return of a security deposit can be a big deal. Tenants want the full amount of the deposit as soon as possible. Landlords want to be able to use the security deposit to pay for damages caused by the tenant. If you are having problems related to payment or retention of the security deposit for rental property, contact a Colorado landlord-tenant attorney near you to get answers to your landlord/tenant questions.

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