Landlord and Tenant Rights
What are My Rights as a Landlord?
There are twelve basic landlord rights:
- Right to require timely payment of the rent and other charges as well as compliance with criminal statutes, and if not, to serve a 3-day notice of demand or a 10-day eviction notice to end a month-to-month tenancy. In either case, the landlord may then commence eviction proceedings in the appropriate county court.
- Right to sue for eviction, and 48 hours after the court awards possession, seek physical eviction of the tenant and his personal property through the county sheriff if the tenant still refuses to move out.
- Right to require the tenant to take reasonable care of the property and to avoid abuse or negligence.
- Right to enforce all terms and conditions of a signed, written lease. Note: The Colorado Security Deposit Act takes precedence over any lease provision.
- Right to be notified when any condition imperils the property (such as gas defect of plumbing problem).
- Right to protect his or her property from willful damage or abandonment by the tenant.
- Right to enter the property in case of emergency (such as fire or flooding), or to assert a possible landlord's lien against some of the tenant's property. Caution: Consult legal advice before attempting to impose/enforce any lien.
- Right to convert a multi-unit apartment property to condominium ownership and sale, and terminate tenancies upon giving 90 days notice to all tenants, honoring all leases with more than 90 days left to run.
- Right to terminate a lease due to criminal activity by the tenant or their guests, by giving a 3-day written notice. The criminal laws involved are drug-related felonies. Note: The notices to terminate are necessary before the landlord can proceed with court eviction, but do not, in themselves, give the landlord power of eviction.
- Right to terminate an employees' lease after he or she is fired from the job, as provided by law upon 3-days written notice. Note: The notices to terminate are necessary before the landlord.
- Right to take possession, without court action, if the property is truly abandoned.
- Right to charge unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, damages (which are not considered normal wear and tear) against the security deposit of a tenant within 30 days (or 60 days if a lease so provides) after tenant has vacated. However, a list of charges claimed due must be mailed to the tenant within the above period of time; otherwise landlord may be subject to triple damages awarded to the tenant should the tenant sue to recover his/her security deposit.
What are My Rights as a Tenant?
There are twelve basic tenant rights:
- Right to enjoy the "home" free from invasion of privacy and disturbance by the landlord or manager.
- Right to "livable" conditions - that is, to enjoy the home in the same condition as when the tenant moved in.
- Right to insist that landlord make any repairs or replacements, which he/she has agreed to make in writing.
- Right to be free from civil right abuses as provided by federal and state law.
- Right to police protection if neighbors or tenants violate municipal laws, as to disturbances, fighting, loud parties, and so forth.
- Right to be told, in advance, if the "home" contains lead paint in violation of federal law.
- Right to have the home in compliance with all city "housing codes" or safety codes.
- Right to "break or terminate a lease and move out if the "home" becomes seriously "unlivable" (farther than just uncomfortable) under the rules of "constructive eviction" and to claim that part of the security deposit to which he or she is entitled.
- Right to terminate a lease for any good reason, provided tenant is prepared: (a) to pay rent to the end of the lease term or until the property is re-rented whichever happens first/ and (b) to pay any reasonable "re-letting" charges stated in the lease. Tenant does not thereby forfeit his/her right to that part of the security deposit to which he/she may be entitled.
- Right to terminate a lease or tenancy and move out is a "gas hazard" is found to exist by the gas company. If the landlord fails to have repairs made within 72 hours after notice from the gas company, the tenant may move and demand immediate return on all or that part of the security deposit to which he/she is entitled.
- Right to be heard and defend in a court hearing when the landlord sues to evict the tenant.
- Right to a refund or a statement of charges against the security deposit within 30 days (or up to 60 days if a lease so provides), pursuant to the Colorado Security Deposit Act. After that period of time, the tenant can mail a 7-day notice, and ask for triple damages in small claims court, for any portion of the deposit that is "wrongfully" and "willfully" withheld, or for all improper charges should the court so determine. Caution: If the landlord wants an attorney present, the case gets certified to the county court, and if the landlord wins the court, the tenant may be ordered to pay some or all of the landlord's attorney's fees and costs. Seek professional advice before you sue.