Posted by on March 22, 2017

Evicting a tenant in Colorado is much more complicated that most people think.

Under Colorado landlord laws, there are two key rights that a renter is provided and must be provided prior to any eviction process.

1. Quiet Enjoyment

Quiet enjoyment is a resident’s right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of the rental unit. This means a tenant can expect that their lease grants them a right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of real property by a tenant or landowner. The right to quiet enjoyment is contained in covenants concerning real estate. In the absence of a term in the lease agreement that explicitly provides for a warranty of quiet enjoyment, courts will typically read such a provision into the contract.

In exchange for rent, a tenant gets the following rights:

  • Privacy: A reasonable expectation of privacy;
  • Peace & Quiet: Including the freedom from unreasonable and recurring disturbances from the landlord and/or other neighbors;
  • Right of Use: Exclusive right of use, except for landlord’s reasonable right of access;
  • Safety & Security: A premise & dwelling that provide adequate security and are free of bodily hazards;
  • Basic Utilities: Access to basic services such as electricity, heat and hot water, which are also part of the implied warranty of habitability.

With that said, it doesn’t supersede a landlord’s right to enter the property with proper notice or in emergencies, conduct showings, or make repairs in a reasonable manner.

…it doesn’t supersede a landlord’s right to enter the property with proper notice…

  • A landlord or manager can be in violation of this covenant if he or she:
  • Enters the unit too frequently or without proper notice;
  • Snoops through personal property;
  • Fails to control disruptive nuisances, noises or behaviors, within reason;
  • Harasses a resident in person or over the phone;
  • Restricts or terminates essential services, such as water or electricity;
  • Fails to repair items that affect habitability; and/or
  • Prohibits reasonable enjoyment of the property, such as entertaining guests.

2. Habitability

A landlord must provide a rental property that is habitable. A renter is entitled to presume that the unit is warranted as being habitable. In plain English, the unit must be safe, in working order and be safe through the term of the lease.

A unit is habitable if it has:

  • guaranteed access to basic services like water, sewer, electricity, and heat; and
  • the unit does not expose the renter to any dangerous or life-threatening conditions (this list can include such things as polluted water supply, lead paint or electrical wires that are bare and may subject the renter to electrocution).

For example, Colorado state-specific requirements for habitability are easily understood ( Colorado Rev Stats §38-12-503§38-12-505§38-12-507 ). They include:

  • Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls maintained in good working order, including unbroken windows and doors;
  • Plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
  • Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times furnished to appropriate fixtures and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law:
  • Functioning heating facilities that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
  • Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order;
  • Common areas and areas under the control of the landlord that are kept reasonably clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and that have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin;
  • Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;
  • An adequate number of appropriate exterior receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in good repair;
  • Floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair;
  • Locks on all exterior doors and locks or security devices on windows designed to be opened that are maintained in good working order; and
  • Compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes, which, if violated, would constitute a condition that is dangerous or hazardous to a tenant’s life, health, or safety.

A landlord breaches the warranty of habitability if one or more of the above conditions exist and

  • The residential premises is in a condition that is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant’s life, health, or safety; and
  • The landlord has received written notice of the condition and failed to cure the problem within a reasonable time.

If a tenant believes that the landlord has failed to provide a habitable rental unit, they can seek to have it remedied under Colorado landlord tenant law by:

“Upon no less than ten and no more than thirty days written notice to the landlord specifying the condition breaching the warranty of habitability and giving the landlord five business days from the receipt of the written notice to remedy the breach, a tenant may terminate the rental agreement by surrendering possession of the dwelling unit if the condition is not remedied or damages paid. In addition, the tenant may sue for damages or an injunction, or withhold rent until the necessary repair is made.”

A renter has clear rights to expect two important guarantees in the signing of a lease. Renters need to understand these Colorado landlord tenant rights and know how to seek remedy if they believe the landlord has violated them.

Get a better understanding of Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws in this resource.

Leasing Residential Property in Colorado