Whether you are searching for a reasonable place to live or a perfect tenant, there are many things to keep in mind. It’s crucial both the landlord and tenant understand the basis of a rental agreement, fair housing and Colorado tenant-landlord laws. Failing to understand these basic guidelines can turn what is supposed to be a business type relationship into a disgruntled relationship.
It’s crucial you have an attorney on your side when going through the landlord-tenant process, especially since legally binding documents are involved. They can assure all the necessary bases are covered in a lease agreement and represent you in court if necessary.
Tenant-Landlord Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC specializes in representing landlords. We have proven experience guiding landlords through the eviction process and protecting them from tenants who refuse to pay rent or damage property. You can schedule a time to speak with us at (719) 328-1616.
- Basic Terms of a Lease
- Different Types of Lease Agreements
- What is the Fair Housing Act?
- Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Additional Resources
Basic Terms of a Lease
A lease is a legally binding agreement between a tenant and the landlord. This contract grants the tenant(s) use of the landlord’s property for a certain period in exchange for rent. Some of the guidelines in a lease agreement can include the amount of rent, the length of the lease and maintenance responsibilities of the landlord.
Both the landlord and the tenant should thoroughly read through a lease agreement so both parties understand their rights and responsibilities before signing the document. Some of the basic terms that should be included in a lease agreement include the following:
- Who is responsible for utility payments
- How long the lease is in effect
- Amount of rent and when it’s due
- If there are any grace periods or penalties for late payments
- Who is responsible for issues like garbage collection, snow removal and lawn care
- When the landlord can enter the unit and the notice required
- Prohibited acts such as smoking and pets
- Who is responsible for minor and major repairs
You should always consult with an attorney anytime you sign a legally binding contract. An attorney can read through the agreement and ensure signing it is in your best interest.
Different Types of Lease Agreements
Colorado landlords can offer various type of lease agreements for renters. The type offered typically depends on the length of the contract. Listed below is a brief explanation of the different types of lease agreements offered in Colorado:
- Term Lease: A lease with a definite ending date is known as a term lease. Under this agreement, a landlord can rent a rental property to a tenant for a specific period and a specific amount. When a term lease expires, the tenant can either renegotiate a new lease or move out. Neither the tenant nor landlord is required to give notice of termination at the end of the term unless stated otherwise in the lease.
- Month-to-Month Lease: This type of agreement is typically utilized when a tenant moves into a property without signing a lease. A month-to-month lease automatically renews each month until either the tenant or landlord terminates the agreement. With this type of lease, a landlord can raise the rent and change or terminate the agreement with a written notice to the tenant.
- Verbal Leases and Agreements: A lease agreement and changes can be made through a verbal agreement between the tenant and landlord. If it can be proven, verbal agreements are legally enforceable. Verbal leases and agreements are not the best idea. It can be difficult to know what either party originally thought when they agreed to the lease. Though a verbal lease can be enforceable, a lease agreement should always be in writing, signed and dated by both parties.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
In addition to local and state laws, a landlord is required to abide by the Fair Housing Act. This is a federal law that protects tenants from being discriminated against when engaging in housing-related activities such as renting. Under the act, it’s against federal law to discriminate against a potential renter because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.
It’s also illegal to take any of the following actions based on the characteristics mentioned above:
- Refuse to rent
- Make units unavailable
- Refuse to negotiate
- Establish different terms
- Discourage the rental
- Evict the tenant or their guest
- Falsely deny available rental
- Impose different rental price
- Limit privileges, services or facilities of a rental
- Harass a person
Violating the Fair Housing Act comes with consequences. You will not be required to spend any time behind bars, but you will be required to pay expensive fines. The extent of the fine depends on your history of violations. Listed below are the possible fines for violating the Fair Housing Act:
- No prior violations: $21,039
- One prior violation: $52,596
- Two or more prior violations: $105,194
Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws
Every state has laws in place for landlords and tenants. Understanding these laws is critical for both parties. They grant both parties their rights in a lease agreement and can help resolve disputes without having to go to court.
Listed below are some of the landlord-tenant laws in Colorado:
- Rules on Security Deposits: Landlords can legally require a one-time security deposit from a tenant in addition to monthly rent. There is no maximum amount on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, but it must be returned within one month from a tenant moving out unless stated otherwise in a lease.
- Obligations of Landlord to Maintain Habitable Premises: A landlord is required to ensure a rental property is fit for human habitation. A tenant can legally withhold rent from a landlord if, and only if, the following three conditions are met:
- The tenant believes the rental is unfit for the use intended by the landlord, and
- The conditions of the rental are dangerous or hazardous to the tenant’s safety, health and life, and
- The landlord has received written notice of the condition and has failed to fix it
- Unlawful Detainer: The unlawful detainer statute lays the ground for a specific process that must be followed when a landlord evicts a tenant. It states a landlord must give a three-day notice for eviction if the tenant fails to pay rent, breaks the rental agreement, commits a serious act such as dealing drugs from the dwelling or fails to move from the property after an agreement has expired.
- Rules for Domestic Violence Victims: Laws have been put in place to assist victims of domestic violence and domestic abuse. Tenants have the right to terminate their lease agreement if they have been a victim of the offense. They will have to provide written notice to the landlord and supporting documentation such as police reports or protection order.
- Tenant Obligations: Like landlords, tenants also have obligations. One of the most basic obligations is to pay rent on time and abide by the terms of the lease agreement. Tenants are also obligated to keep their unit clean and respect other tenants on the premises.
How Evictions Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Ever since the surge of COVID-19 cases have hit the U.S., thousands upon thousands of American citizens have had issues paying their landlords. This has put landlords in a very precarious position as they face the tough reality that they may not receive payment form their tenants for some time. Access the linked blog to learn more about how evictions are being handled during the COVID-19 pandemic and what your options are as a landlord.
Landlord/Tenant Information – Learn more about tenants and landlords in Colorado. You can view more in-depth information about topics discussed on this page as well as information about what happens if a rental property is foreclosed on, state discrimination laws and landlord rights and responsibilities.
Examples of Housing Discrimination | Fair Housing Act – Follow the link provided to view examples of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. You can also gain access to more information about the act and how to file a complaint. The information can be viewed on the official website of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Landlord-Tenant Lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO
It’s advised you have an attorney on your side anytime a legally binding contract is involved. They can ensure all the necessary issues are covered and that the agreement is in your best interest. Whether you need assistance with the eviction process or need help drafting a lease agreement, Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is here to help.
Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a time to speak with us. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC assist landlords in areas such as Colorado Springs, Denver, and Littleton.