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Security Deposit FAQs for Colorado Landlords & Tenants

At Flaxman Law Group, we often hear from landlords and tenants in Denver, Boulder, and other communities across the state. We hear a lot of confusion about Colorado laws when it comes to security deposits specifically, which is why we've put together this guide to address some of the most common questions we hear.

If you find yourself involved in a landlord-tenant dispute in Colorado involving a security deposit or any other issue, contact Flaxman Law Group to schedule a consultation with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney. You can reach our team at 970-999-0530.

Security Deposit FAQs for Landlords: Can I Charge a Security Deposit in Colorado?

Yes. In Denver, Boulder, or any other Colorado community, landlords can ask for a security deposit and there is no legal limit to the amount they can ask. However, it's important to remember that this isn't just extra money. A security deposit is an amount paid by the tenant at the beginning of the lease term to cover any future property damages or unpaid rent. Therefore, it's important to charge a reasonable amount. Failure to do so can cause legal complications if there is a dispute and a judge perceives a security deposit to be unreasonable.

What can I Deduct From the Security Deposit?

As a landlord in Colorado, you can legally deduct part of the security deposit when the tenant moves out if any of the following are the case:

  • The tenant owes rent or didn't pay additional charges owed to you, the landlord
  • The renter owes for utilities
  • The property was damaged beyond what is considered normal wear and tear
  • The renter moved out before the lease ended, without due notice

Some leases also have additional charges, for carpet cleaning, for example, or for pets. These are separate from the security deposit, but the landlord may be able to withhold some of the security deposit if the tenant owes these additional charges and has not paid them as outlined in the lease agreement.

How can I Tell What is Normal Wear and Tear and What is Serious Damage?

The landlord-tenant dispute lawyers at Flaxman Law Group has noticed this is a common point of disagreement between landlords and tenants in Denver, Boulder, and other Colorado communities. Tenants may claim some damage was accidental or part of normal wear and tear while a landlord may see the damage as serious.

In general, normal wear and tear refers to the normal damage that happens over time. It can refer to faded paint, scuffs, worn carpeting in high-traffic areas, and similar damages. Serious damage can refer to burn marks, holes in the wall, broken windows and doors, and damage which looks like it was willful or caused by negligence.

Landlords cannot deduct for normal wear and tear. If there is a disagreement with your tenant about wear and tear or damage, contact Flaxman Law Group for a consultation.

When do I Have to Return the Security Deposit?

You must return the security deposit within 30 days, unless the lease agreement allows you up to 60 days.

Where can I Turn if i Have More Questions?

If you have a disagreement with a tenant over a security deposit or any issue, we invite you to contact Flaxman Law Group at 970-999-0530 to schedule a consultation with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney. We can discuss mediation and other options to protect your rights.

FAQs for Tenants: Can my landlord withhold the entire security deposit?

As long as landlords are deducting for legally-allowed reasons, such as damage or non-payment of rent, they can withhold as much as they need to cover these legal costs. If damages or rent owed covers the entire security deposit, you may not be eligible to get any of the amount left. In most cases, however, tenants do get part of their security deposit back unless they owe a lot of back rent or there is significant property damage.

How can I make sure I get my full security deposit back?

To prevent landlord-tenant disputes, here are a few things you can do:

  • Ask for a pre-move-in inspection with the landlord or a manager and take photos of the condition of the unit. Report and note any damages before you move in in writing.
  • During your stay in the rental, promptly report any damages or problems in writing. Take photos of the damage or the state of the property after any repairs.
  • Provide adequate notice, as stated in your lease agreement, about your move-out date.
  • Clean your rental thoroughly before you move out and try to leave it in the best condition possible.
  • Ask for a move-out inspection with the landlord or manager, so you can review the condition of the rental. Take photos and videos of the condition you left the rental in.
  • Communicate your forwarding address to your landlord, so he or she can mail your security deposit.
What if My Landlord Fails to Return the Security Deposit?

If your landlord doesn't return the security deposit or provide an itemized statement within one month to 60 days of you moving out, you might want to seek legal advice. You might also want to send a letter through registered mail, reminding the landlord of their obligation.

What if I Disagree With the Deductions Made From My Security Deposit?

If you think the deductions made by your landlord are unjustified, communicate your concerns in writing. Ask for an itemized statement detailing the deductions and supporting evidence. If you cannot agree, contact a landlord-tenant dispute attorney in Colorado as soon as possible so you can protect your rights. If you're in Denver, Boulder, or any other Colorado community, you can contact Flaxman Law Group at 970-999-0530 for a consultation.

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