If you are new to renting in Denver, whether you have relocated or are new to the rental market, it is important to familiarize yourself with local landlord tenant law. If you don’t know the local laws, then you don’t know your tenant rights. This knowledge is critical before negotiating or signing any lease agreement. Here are some laws to be sure you know.
1. Law Regarding the Return of a Security Deposit
No matter where you live, you should not sign a lease agreement that does not specify when your security deposit is to be returned. In Denver, your landlord must return your security deposit within 30 days, or provide you with written notice as to why any portion or the entire security deposit is being held. However, in a lease agreement in Denver, it is not uncommon for the landlord and tenant to agree to a term longer than 30 days, but no more than 60 days. If your landlord is trying to get you to agree to a term longer than 60 days, do not agree to it. A term longer than 60 days is not in compliance with local law.
2. Law Regarding Apartment Repairs and Withholding Rent
In Denver, if an apartment is in such bad condition that it is uninhabitable, you are able to consider the lease void and move out. However, if you continue to live in an apartment that requires repairs, you are not allowed to withhold any portion of the rent unless allowed by a judge in a court of law. Also, it is not advisable when renting in Denver to make any repairs yourself, and then withhold the costs from the rent, unless approved by a judge. What you can do is keep records of written requests to your landlord for the repair work, and if the repairs are not made, then take him to court. If you withhold rent, your landlord can attempt to evict you. You will have to prove to a judge that the landlord is not making appropriate repairs in your apartment, and that those damages were not caused by you. This is much harder to prove than your withholding rent. So, be careful how you go about this, and keep records of everything.
3. Law Regarding Rent Control
The most important thing to know about the law regarding rent control when renting in Denver is that there is no rent control. According to the landlord tenant law, and regulated by the state, no municipality is allowed to control the rent on any private residential dwelling. What this means for you is that your landlord is entitled to raise your rent at every lease renewal period for whatever amount he sees fit. It is important to be aware of this so that you can either negotiate a longer term lease, or negtiate predetermined rent increases, for example a 2% annual rent increase.
4. Be Aware of Changes to the Law
Denver’s landlord tenant law is known to lean much more towards the rights of the landlord. Legistlators have been trying to make changes to this, but until those changes are made, stay on top of it, and stay on top of your paperwork. Keep records of everything, so that if you wind up in a bad situation, you have the proof you need to get what you need done.
Emily Gojko: I am a writer, marketer, and manager with a strong background in real estate development and management. I am also a native New Yorker with an obsession for home design shows, so I have personal and professional experience making the most of small spaces, and dealing with good and bad living situations.