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Security Deposit Withholding: What Colorado Landlords Need to Know

Colorado landlords have the right to request a security deposit from renters, as a type of protection in case of significant property damage or unpaid rent. However, while the law allows for withholding, some tenants fight back and landlord-tenant disputes about security deposit withholding can drag on, meaning you don’t get the money you need to compensate you for your losses.

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The father-son attorney team at Flaxman Law Group has helped landlords defend and support their deductions. We have worked to resolve these cases advantageously for our clients, and in a timely way, so landlords can get back to managing their properties. If your tenant moves out and there is a disagreement about the security deposit, contact Flaxman Law Group for a consultation with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney. Let’s discuss ways you can protect yourself.

Know the Law

One of the best ways landlords can protect themselves from landlord-tenant disputes over security deposit withholding is to know the law. Under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103(1), you have one month to provide your renter with either a written statement of what you will deduct from the security deposit or the security deposit back in full. If explicitly stated in the rental agreement, you may have up to 60 days to return the deposit.

In specific cities, such as Boulder, you may also need to provide the tenant with interest earned on the security deposit.

Landlords can only withhold part or all of the security deposit to cover the following costs:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Unpaid utilities
  • Cleaning
  • Damage that is not normal wear and tear
  • Violations of the rental agreement
  • Repairs

You need to follow both state laws and any laws your specific city has for landlords. These can change every few years, so if you’re not sure about your obligations, you might want to consult with an attorney. Making sure you’re compliant with all relevant laws can help you reduce the risk of landlord-tenant disputes.

Document Everything

Take photos and write down as much as you can. It can help justify why you might need to consider security deposit withholding in the first place. While a tenant may still object, you’ll at least have the documentation to show the deductions are fair. Here’s what and how to document:

  • Take photos of the unit before a tenant moves in.
  • Clearly outline in the renter’s agreement your expectations about property maintenance and the condition the property should be in during move-out.
  • Do a walk-through of the property with every new tenant and sign a document outlining the condition of the property at the time of move-in.
  • Keep a record of any communication with a tenant and any repairs and maintenance done on the property.
  • Do a walk-through of the property when the tenant moves out, and take photos of the property to establish the condition of the property at the end of a tenancy.
  • If repairs are needed, seek estimates from contractors so you can provide an accurate itemized list of withholdings.
  • Provide a tenant with a clearly itemized list of items you are deducting from the security deposit.

When To Call a Lawyer

Even if you’re diligent and communicate clearly with your renter, landlord-tenant disputes can still happen. As soon as your tenant takes action to try to deny your right to security deposit withholding, contact a landlord-tenant dispute attorney. In Colorado, these cases can take time and you want to move on and move in a new tenant.

At Flaxman Law Group, our father-son attorney team understands that time is valuable and we work to help landlords avoid lawsuits. Our goal is to help you resolve any landlord-tenant dispute so you can get back to making money with your investment property. If a tenant is not agreeing with your itemized list of security deposit deductions or is threatening legal action, contact Flaxman Law Group to schedule a consultation with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney. You can call us at 970-999-0530 or contact us online.

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