As a tenant, no matter the reason for termination of your lease, you have certain rights related to your security deposit. If your landlord improperly withholds your security deposit, you may be able to recover three times the wrongfully withheld amount in addition to your attorney’s fees and costs.
What does my landlord need to communicate to me about my security deposit?
Within thirty days of termination of your lease or surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs later, your landlord needs to send you an itemization of the reasons for withholding any portions of your security deposit, as well as the remainder of the security deposit. A residential lease can extend the thirty day deadline to sixty days, if that is stated in the lease. The statement and any remaining portion of your security deposit need to be mailed to your last known address.
What happens if my landlord doesn’t give notice within the required time frame?
The landlord loses the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit.
What can my landlord deduct from my security deposit?
Your landlord can generally deduct amounts due under your lease from the security deposit – past due rent, late fees, cleaning costs, repair costs, etc. However, Colorado statute does prohibit deducting amounts for “normal wear and tear”. Depending on the specific deduction, it may be possible to dispute whether something is for normal wear and tear or something permissible such as cleaning or repairs. If a lawsuit is filed, your landlord generally is responsible for demonstration that the amounts were properly withheld.
Do I need to contact my landlord before filing a lawsuit?
Yes, Colorado requires that you provide at least seven days notice to your landlord before filing a lawsuit for wrongful withholding of your security deposit.