Tenants and Landlords
SECURITY DEPOSITS - WRONGFUL WITHHOLDING
The provisions of this part 1 shall be liberally construed to
implement the intent of the general assembly to insure the proper
administration of security deposits and protect the interests of
tenants and landlords. §38-12-101
Source: L. 71: p. 592, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 58-1-26.
As used in this part 1, unless the context otherwise
(1) "Normal wear and tear" means that deterioration
which occurs, based upon the use for which the rental unit is
intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of
the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of
his household, or their invitees or guests.
(2) "Security deposit" means any advance or deposit
of money, regardless of its denomination, the primary function of
which is to secure the performance of a rental agreement for
residential premises or any part thereof. §38-12-102
Source: L. 71: p. 592, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 58-1-27.
Return of security deposit.
(1) A landlord shall, within one month after the termination
of a lease or surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever
occurs last, return to the tenant the full security deposit
deposited with the landlord by the tenant, unless the lease
agreement specifies a longer period of time, but not to exceed sixty
days. No security deposit shall be retained to cover normal wear and
tear. In the event that actual cause exists for retaining any
portion of the security deposit, the landlord shall provide the
tenant with a written statement listing the exact reasons for the
retention of any portion of the security deposit. When the statement
is delivered, it shall be accompanied by payment of the difference
between any sum deposited and the amount retained. The landlord is
deemed to have complied with this section by mailing said statement
and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant.
Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining
the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the
premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning
contracted for by the tenant.
(2) The failure of a landlord to provide a written statement
within the required time specified in subsection (1) of this section
shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of
the security deposit under this section.
(a) The willful retention of a security deposit in violation
of this section shall render a landlord liable for treble the amount
of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the
tenant, together with reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs;
except that the tenant has the obligation to give notice to the
landlord of his intention to file legal proceedings a minimum of
seven days prior to filing said action.
(b) In any court action brought by a tenant under this
section, the landlord shall bear the burden of proving that his
withholding of the security deposit or any portion of it was not
(4) Upon cessation of his interest in the dwelling unit,
whether by sale, assignment, death, appointment of a
receiver, or otherwise, the person in possession of the
security deposit, including but not limited to the landlord, his
agent, or his executor, shall, within a reasonable time:
(a) Transfer the funds, or any remainder after lawful
deductions under subsection (1) of this section, to the landlord's
successor in interest and notify the tenant by mail of such transfer
and of the transferee's name and address; or
(b) Return the funds, or any remainder after lawful
deductions under subsection (1) of this section, to the tenant.
(5) Upon compliance with subsection (4) of this section, the
person in possession of the security deposit shall be relieved of
(6) Upon receipt of transferred funds under subsection (4)
(a) of this section, the transferee, in relation to such funds,
shall be deemed to have all of the rights and obligations of a
landlord holding the funds as a security deposit.
(7) Any provision, whether oral or written, in or pertaining
to a rental agreement whereby any provision of this section for the
benefit of a tenant or members of his household is waived shall be
deemed to be against public policy and shall be void. §38-12-103
Source: L. 71: p. 592, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 58-1-28. L. 76: (2)
amended, p. 314, § 67, effective May 20.
Return of security deposit - hazardous condition - gas
(1) Anytime service personnel from any organization providing
gas service to a residential building become aware of any hazardous
condition of a gas appliance, piping, or other gas equipment, such
personnel shall inform the customer of record at the affected
address in writing of the hazardous condition and take any further
action provided for by the policies of such personnel's employer.
Such written notification shall state the potential nature of the
hazard as a fire hazard or a hazard to life, health, property, or
public welfare and shall explain the possible cause of the hazard.
(2) If the resident of the residential building is a tenant,
such tenant shall immediately inform the landlord of the property or
the landlord's agent in writing of the existence of the hazard.
(3) The landlord shall then have seventy-two hours excluding
a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday after the actual receipt of
the written notice of the hazardous condition to have the hazardous
condition repaired by a professional. "Professional" for
the purposes of this section means a person authorized by the state
of Colorado or by a county or municipal government through license
or certificate where such government authorization is required.
Where no person with such government authorization is available, and
where there are no local requirements for government authorization,
a person who is otherwise qualified and who possesses insurance with
a minimum of one hundred thousand dollars public liability
and property damage coverage shall be deemed a professional for
purposes of this section. Proof of such repairs shall be forwarded
to the landlord or the landlord's agent. Such proof may also be used
as an affirmative defense in any action to recover the security
deposit, as provided for in this section.
(4) If the landlord does not have the repairs made within
seventy-two hours excluding a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal
holiday, and the condition of the building remains
hazardous, the tenant may opt to vacate the premises. After the
tenant vacates the premises, the lease or other rental agreement
between the landlord and tenant becomes null and void, all rights
and future obligations between the landlord and tenant pursuant to
the lease or other rental agreement terminate, and the tenant may
demand the immediate return of all or any portion of the security
deposit held by the landlord to which the tenant is entitled. The
landlord shall have seventy-two hours following the tenant's
vacation of the premises to deliver to the tenant all of, or the
appropriate portion of, the security deposit plus any rent rebate
owed to the tenant for rent paid by the tenant for the period of
time after the tenant has vacated. If the seventy-second hour falls
on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the security deposit must
be delivered by noon on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday,
or legal holiday. The tenant shall provide the landlord with a
correct forwarding address. No security deposit shall be retained to
cover normal wear and tear. In the event that actual cause exists
for retaining any portion of the security deposit, the landlord
shall provide the tenant with a written statement listing the exact
reasons for the retention of any portion of the security deposit.
When the statement is delivered, it shall be accompanied by payment
of the difference between any sum deposited and the amount retained.
The landlord is deemed to have complied with this section by mailing
said statement and any payments required by this section to the
forwarding address of the tenant. Nothing in this section shall
preclude the landlord from withholding the security deposit for
nonpayment of rent or for nonpayment of utility charges, repair
work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant. If the tenant does
not receive the entire security deposit or a portion of the security
deposit together with a written statement listing the exact reasons
for the retention of any portion of the security deposit within the
time period provided for in this section, the retention of the
security deposit shall be deemed willful and wrongful and,
notwithstanding the provisions of section 38-12-103 (3), shall
entitle the tenant to twice the amount of the security deposit and
to reasonable attorney fees. §38-12-104
Source: L. 91: Entire section added, p. 1691, § 1, effective
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