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Security Deposit Withholding: What You Need to Know as a Colorado Tenant

If you rent your home in Boulder, Colorado Springs, or any community in Colorado, you may have had to pay a security deposit when moving in. Also known as a damage deposit or a pet deposit, this money is meant to protect the landlord against unpaid rent and damage, but if you follow all the rules, you should be getting that money back after you move out.


So what happens if your landlord tries to claim your deposit is “non-refundable” or tries to claw back a large portion? This is not only unfair, but it may be against the law. Worse, it can leave you in a difficult situation if you need the money to pay for necessities after you move. In this situation, you can always call Flaxman Law Group to arrange a consultation with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney. Let our family-based law team review your situation, answer your questions, and help you find ways to get your deposit back.

What Are Your Rights as a Colorado Renter?

In Colorado, a “non-refundable” security deposit just doesn’t exist. Your landlord can withhold some of the deposit if:

  • You didn’t pay all your rent, utilities, or other costs.
  • You caused property damage beyond normal “wear and tear.”
  • You moved out ahead of the date your lease ended.
  • You violated the terms of your agreement.

Even in these cases, the landlord must provide an itemized list explaining how much is being withheld and why. Your landlord can’t just keep your whole security deposit and claim you caused “damage.”

In addition, the landlord has a specific time frame to get your damage deposit to you or send you an itemized list of withdrawals. If your lease specifies it, the deposit or itemized list must be sent to you within 60 days. If there is no mention of when the deposit is to be returned, your landlord has 30 days to return your damage deposit. If they don’t and they don’t send you an itemized list of damages, they lose the right to your deposit. They do still have the right to sue you to recover losses.

You can send a demand letter if your landlord simply didn’t communicate with you within 30-60 days. You can also work with a Colorado landlord-tenant dispute attorney if your deposit is wrongfully withheld.

What You Can Do as a Colorado Tenant

Protecting your damage deposit begins before you even move in. When you decide to rent, carefully review the lease agreement so you understand what you need to do to get your damage deposit back. Walk through with the landlord or property manager before you move in and note, in writing, any damage or problems you see in the rental. Take and keep photos of the home before you move in, so you can document the move-on condition.

When it’s time to move out, go through your lease agreement so you can give your landlord the required notice. Again, take photos of the property and do a walk-through to document the condition of the property. Give your landlord your forwarding address so they can send you the damage deposit.

Even if you do everything right, though, disputes can happen. The landlord can claim that you caused damage beyond wear and tear. There could be a mix-up that makes a landlord think you failed to pay a month’s rent.

No matter what the cause of the disagreement, if your landlord is refusing to give back the security deposit you believe you should get back, contact Flaxman Law Group. Our family-based law firm has helped many tenants secure the return of their deposit after it was wrongfully withheld. Call us at 970-999-0530 or contact us online. Let’s discuss your rights and ways we may be able to get your damage deposit back.

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