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Legal Information: Colorado

Colorado Housing Laws

Laws current as of
November 9, 2017

If you are a tenant in Colorado, your lease cannot be terminated solely because you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking, or because you have requested emergency assistance (such as from a peace officer) in response to a situation involving one of these forms of abuse. Also, you cannot be fined for requesting emergency assistance and you cannot waive (give up) your right to call for such assistance. Additionally, you can terminate your lease early if you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking with minimal penalties. Some basic information on these housing laws is below.

Who is protected by these housing laws? What protections do these laws offer?

Colorado offers various housing/tenancy-related laws that protect victims of abuse.

First, your landlord cannot terminate your lease, fine you, or otherwise penalize you for calling the police or other emergency assistance in response to domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking.  Furthermore, you cannot give up your right to call the police or other emergency assistance for help during your tenancy.*

Second, you may terminate your lease early if you:

  1. Want to vacate (leave) your apartment/house because you are afraid that you and/or your children face immediate danger as a result of domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking;
  2. Notify your landlord in writing that you are a victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse; and
  3. Give your landlord one of the following documents:
    • a police report written within the past 60 days documenting the domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking; 
    • a valid protection order;
    • in the case of domestic violence, domestic abuse, or unlawful sexual behavior, a written statement from an application assistant or a medical professional who confirms that s/he has examined or consulted with the victim and that s/he is a victim of one of these forms of abuse; or
    • in the case of stalking, a written statement from an application assistant  who confirms that s/he has consulted with the victim and that s/he is a victim of stalking.**

Note: You may have to pay one month’s rent for the month after you leave the residence.***  See Once I terminate my lease, will I owe the landlord any money? for more information.

Lastly, you may not be evicted solely because you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking (although you can be evicted for other reasons).****

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(1)
** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(2)(a),(a.5)
*** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(2)(b)
**** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(3)

Once I terminate my lease, will I owe the landlord any money?

Possibly. The law says that the tenant is responsible for one month's rent after s/he leaves the residence if the landlord has experienced and documented damages (loss of money) that are equal to at least one month's rent as a result of the tenant's early termination of the lease. This payment to the landlord would be due within 90 days of vacating your apartment/house. The landlord can keep your security deposit until you pay that one month’s rent or the landlord can use your security deposit to off-set the money you would owe him/her.*

What often happens is that the landlord holds onto the security deposit and returns it if s/he is able to quickly re-rent the apartment/house (and if the security deposit isn’t needed to repair physical damage to the unit). If the landlord cannot quickly re-rent the apartment/house, s/he keeps the security deposit in lieu of the rent payment due.

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(2)(b)

Is the information that I tell my landlord confidential?

Yes. The landlord is not allowed to tell anyone that you are a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic violence, or domestic abuse unless you consent or unless s/he is required by law to do so. Also, after terminating your lease, if you give your new address to your landlord/ s/he is not allowed to tell that address to anyone unless you consent or unless s/he is required by law to do so.*

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(4)