Colorado’s landlord/tenant laws give special protections to victims of domestic violence and abuse, including early termination rights.
If you are facing a domestic violence situation, and you want to end your lease early and vacate your house or apartment because you fear that you and/or your children face imminent danger, then follow these steps:
- Write a letter to your landlord notifying him/her that you are a victim of domestic violence/abuse requesting early termination of your lease; and
- Give your landlord evidence of the domestic violence/abuse by providing him/her with a police report (dated within the last 60 days) or a valid protection order. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(2)(a).
You may still owe your landlord one-month’s rent:
If you follow these steps and terminate your lease early, you may be responsible for an additional one-month’s rent after leaving the property. You will need to pay the one-month’s rent to your landlord within ninety days of leaving. Your landlord does not have to refund your security deposit until the one-month’s rent is paid. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402(2)(b).
Other protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence:
- Your lease cannot prohibit you from calling the police in response to domestic violence or abuse or penalize you for doing so.
- Your right to call police or emergency assistance is non-waivable, which means that you will always have the right to call for help in an emergency even if you sign a lease that prohibits you from doing so.
- Your landlord cannot terminate your lease or evict you solely because you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse.
Are you unsure of whether you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse?
Under Colorado law, “domestic violence” means any act (including threatened acts) of violence against a person who is or was in an intimate relationship with the actor. Domestic violence is broadly defined and can include crimes against property or animals when used to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or to seek revenge against a person who is or was in an intimate relationship with the actor. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-800.3(1).
“Domestic abuse” means any act (including attempted or threatened acts) of violence, stalking, harassment, or coercion against someone who is related to or used to be related to the actor, someone who lived with or used to live with the actor, or someone who is involved or used to be involved in an intimate relationship with the actor. It can also include acts against children, and under some circumstances, animals belonging to either party. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(2).
For more information and resources regarding domestic violence, please visit the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence.