When is a Landlord Allowed to Enter Your Home?

When is a Landlord Allowed to Enter Your Home?

What Does the Law Say?

Unfortunately in Colorado there is not many protections for a tenant’s privacy in relation to their landlord. Boulder County and City, along with the State of Colorado, have no statutory language for tenant privacy. However there is an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment that is written into every lease.

The Duty of Quiet Enjoyment

Colorado case law provides that a landlord cannot violate the duty of quiet enjoyment. This duty is defined generally to be “a covenant that promises that the grantee or tenant of an estate in real property will be able to possess the premises in peace, without disturbance by hostile claimants.” This covenant protects tenants rights in principle, yet enforcement is difficult. There are also many legitimate reasons for landlords to come in and inspect the premises.

When Can a Landlord Enter the Premises? 

A tenant’s right to privacy is almost entirely subject to the lease. Whatever protections you wish to have relating to your privacy must be negotiated with your landlord at signing.

According to the standard Boulder Housing Lease, a landlord may enter their tenant’s premises, without notice, to:

  • Inspect the residence
  • Repair damage
  • Or show the premises to prospective buyers

The specific language in the Boulder Model Lease is laid out below

“Resident shall permit owner/agent to enter the premises at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice for the purpose of making necessary or convenient repairs or reasonable inspections, or to show the premises to prospective residents, purchasers, or lenders. Entry may be made without prior notice only if owner/agent reasonably believes that an emergency exists, such as a fire or broken water pipe, or that the premises have been abandoned.”

Link: http://ocss.colorado.edu/sites/default/files/imce/BoulderModelLease.pdf

What about the Boulder Housing Code?

The Boulder Housing Code does require that entry be permitted for reasonable repairs which relate to the Code. Therefore, whatever language you negotiate with your landlord for privacy cannot violate this code.

Link: https://bouldercolorado.gov/plan-develop/codes-and-regulations

What Else Can I Do If a Landlord Continues to Invade My Privacy? 

First and foremost, you should attempt to resolve the problem by negotiating with your landlord. This is the easiest and most hassle-free way to resolve all landlord-tenant disputes. Perhaps starting with a tactful letter may be the best way to go.

If negotiations break down, then it is time to consult an attorney or request mediation. Mediation services in the City of Boulder can be found here:


Finally, DO NOT deny entry of your home to your landlord. If your landlord has similar language in your lease as in the Boulder Model Lease above, then your landlord can immediately start eviction proceedings against you.


I hope this is helpful! Best of luck with your future landlord relationships!

-Joshua JR Bennett

Guide To: How to Bring a Suit in Small Claims Court


This is a corollary to my previous blog post

  • Guide To:  Landlord/Tenant Security Deposit Dispute.

The scope of this blog relates to bringing suits over security deposits with your previous landlord in small claims courts; however many of these steps can be followed for any suit in small claims court.

Where Can I File My Suit?

Tenants can bring suit in the county which the defendant (landlord), at the time of filing, either

  • Resides
  • Is regularly employed
  • Has an office for the transaction of business, or
  • Is a student at an institution of higher education

Tenants can also bring suit in the county where the subject real property is located (i.e. the county where your rental unit is).


Steps to Filing Your Claim

Step 1 – Complete the JDF 250 (Notice, Claims, and Summons to Appear for Trial)

Form JDF 250 can be found here

The form requires you to identify the names and addresses of the parties. In this case

  • Plaintiff = tenant (you)
  • Defendant = landlord

If the defendant is a business, then you must go to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website to determine who is the registered agent to complete service of process.


Example: Boulder Property Management Corp.


Step 1: Put the business’s name into the first search box, then search


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Step 2: Click on the appropriate # ID Numbe

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In this case the correct ID Number is #4. To ensure that this is the particular business you are interested in, select the link with:

  • The correct Name of the business
  • The Event listed as “Articles of Incorporation”
  • The Status is listed as “Good Standing”


Step 3: Locate their registered agent

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In this case, the registered agent is Jared E Minor

**If your landlord is a government agent, there are few more pitfalls. This is outside the scope of this blog. However the details can be found in §24-10-109 of the Colorado Revised Statutes

  • Link: https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/671/documents/CRS%20Title%2012%20Article%2010%20-%20Governmental%20Immunity.pdf


Step 2 – File Your Form with the Court

Locate your preferred court that has jurisdiction over this case (see above). Provide the court with your completed JDF 50 and pay the fee. The court will provide you with a court date or instruct you in mediation measures.


Step 3 – Serve your Landlord

The landlord must receive notice of the lawsuit. This service must be completed 15 days before the trial date or the trial may be reschedule or dismissed.

There are two options to complete service of process


  1. Personal Service

This is the preferred method by the courts. YOU CANNOT SERVE YOUR LANDLORD YOURSELF. Personal service of process can be accomplished in one of three ways:

  • Sherriff’s Department
  • Private Process Server
  • A friend whom is 18 years old or older and not a party to the case.

The process server must be provided with one copy, for each defendant, of the following:

  • The Notice, Claim, and Summons to Appear for Trial
    • Listed as “Defendants Copy” on the JDF 50
  • Affidavit of Service
    • Again, located on the JDF 50

The process server will return the completed Affidavit of Service portion to you. This should be brought to the court at the time of the hearing or filed ahead of time.


  1. Certified Mail

You can ask the court to conduct the service of process for you. The courts do not like to do this and it is not preferred. There is a small fee involved and it could delay your case.

**Service of process fees are usually granted to winning party at trial!


Preparing for the Court Trial

Small claims courts are informal and without a jury, so forget what you learned in Law and Order. However there are some parallels to what you might have seen on TV.

Gathering Relevant Documents

You must know your state security deposit rules. Don’t worry, they are not that complicated. However it is embarrassing to be dismissed by a judge because you were unaware of the relevant local and state laws. Bringing a copy of these laws is never a bad idea. This webpage provides a nice starting point, along with the Consumer Tips link located at the top of the blog.

You should also bring:

  • A signed copy of the lease or rental agreement and any other supporting documents your landlord provided for you at signing.
  • Receipts or cancelled checks for your security deposit
  • Any cleanings fees you paid to your landlord if applicable
  • Move-in/Move-out photos and videos if applicable
  • Witnesses (See Below)
  • Anything else you deem relevant


It is sometimes beneficial to have one or two witnesses who are familiar with your rental property and can testify on your behalf. The court will accept written statement from witnesses in most cases. Preferably these should be voluntary witnesses. However, if you deem it necessary, you can issue a subpoena to involuntarily bring a witness to court, this can be accomplished through a JDF 79 Form. Link with the Form and instructions on how to file is below


You’re Day in Court

These tips may be obvious, however they are important enough to include.


  • Judges and magistrates do not like to be kept waiting.
  • Also any courtroom can be an intimidating place. Some judges and magistrates will allow you to observe other trials. This may be a good practice to alleviate some of those fears.


  • Make copies, organize, and label all of your exhibits.
    • Exhibits are any documents, photographs, videos, etc. that you will produce as evidence at trial



If you have a successful outcome, the court will determine the amount of damages owed. You are responsible for collecting this money, not the court. Additional collection information is located below:



I hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your day in court!

Guide to: Landlord/Tenant Security Deposit Disputes

By: jjrbennett

Guide to: Landlord/Tenant Security Deposit Disputes and Small Claims Court



The primary reason tenants bring suits against landlords is for security deposit disputes. Many of us are angry when we feel we did not receive everything that we are entitled to. However not all security deposit deductions or withholdings are unjustified. For a basic overview of your rights relating to security deposits, see below:


When Should I Bring Suit in Small Claims Court over a Security Deposit Dispute?

Nobody wants to go to court. It can be very time consuming and aggravating. However if

  • A landlord has withheld a security deposit for 30 days after you have vacated the premises (or longer if stipulated in the lease, not to exceed 60 days); OR
  • You feel the deductions are unjustified

Then it may be time to go to court.

Landlords can deduct money from security deposits for a number of things (for a fuller understanding, refer to the Consumer Tips webpage link above). Landlords CANNOT deduct for normal wear and tear to the property. For a list of what normally constitutes “wear and tear” versus “damage or excessive filth” see below


How Much Can I Collect from My Landlord in Small Claims Court?

Tenants can sue landlords in small claims court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $7,500. The amount recovered is usually the amount the judge or magistrate deems the landlord has wrongfully held plus, perhaps, a filing fee. If you believe your claim is for over $7,500, then small claims court is not the place for you, or, you can waive the excess balance.


What are the Benefits of Suing in Small Claims Court?


  • Filing fees for all Colorado small claims courts are as follows
    • Claim up to $500 = Filing Fee of $31
    • Claim between $500.01 and $7,500 = Filing Fee of $55
  • There could be additional fees for service of process, but these are usually reimbursed if you win your case.
    • Attorneys aren’t allowed in most small courts claims.
    • Disclaimer:
      • An attorney will be allowed to bring or defend a claim if that attorney is an employee, officer, or partner in a corporation involved in the suit OR an authorized active member of a union involved in the suit.
      • If the other party is represented by an attorney, you may have one as well


  • Disputes are heard before a judge or magistrate within a month or two


What About Mediation

Mediation is where a neutral third party negotiates a mutually acceptable agreement between yourself and your landlord. It is a good method of resolving your dispute without the headache of going to trial. Some magistrates and judges will require mediation before a trial can be heard. Mediation services are available at:

I hope this helps!


For an in-depth analysis on how to file a claim in small claims court, see my corollary blog post:

  • Guide to:  How to Bring a Suit in Small Claims court


A Colorado Tenant’s Guide to the Warranty of Habitability

What is the warranty of habitability?

A guarantee in every residential lease that the apartment or home is fit for people to live in. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-503(1).


What kind of conditions would make an apartment or home “uninhabitable” under the law?

The statute lists 11 specific examples of uninhabitable conditions. If an apartment or home lacks one of the following characteristics, it could be considered uninhabitable.

  • 1) Waterproofing and weather protection of the roof, exterior walls, windows, or doors;
  • 2) Plumbing and gas facilities;
  • 3) Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water;
  • 4) Functioning heat correctly installed and in good working order;
  • 5) Electrical lighting correctly installed and in good working order;
  • 6) Common areas that are reasonably clean;
  • 7) Extermination of rodents or vermin;
  • 8) Adequate garbage receptacles;
  • 9) Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair;
  • 10) Locks on exterior doors and locks or security devices on windows; and
  • 11) Compliance with building, housing, and health codes, which, if violated, would cause the home to be dangerous to the tenant

This is not an exclusive list. Other conditions that make an apartment or home unsuitable to live in could count as an uninhabitable condition. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-505.


Does the tenant have to maintain the property in any way?

  • First, a tenant must fulfill maintenance duties agreed to in the lease, with some exceptions.
  • Second, a tenant must maintain the premises in a clean and safe manner which means:
    • complying with building, health, and housing codes;
    • keeping the inside of the apartment or home clean and sanitary;
    • disposing of garbage in a sanitary manner;
    • using utilities, such as heat and air-conditioning, in a reasonable manner;
    • not disturbing the neighbors peaceful enjoyment of their apartment or home; and
    • notifying the landlord if the apartment or home is uninhabitable.
  • And, of course, a tenant should not destroy or damage any part of the apartment or home.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-504.


Is an “uninhabitable” condition enough to hold the landlord responsible under the law?

No. There are three requirements that must be met before a tenant can hold a landlord responsible under the law:

  • 1) The premises are uninhabitable (one of the conditions listed above or something similar);
  • 2) The condition is “materially dangerous or hazardous” to the tenant; and
  • 3) The tenant gave written notice of the condition to the landlord and the landlord failed to fix the problem in a reasonable amount of time Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-503(2)(a)-(c).

If these three requirements are satisfied, the landlord has “breached the warranty of habitability.” If there is an uninhabitable condition in your home, and you feel that the condition is dangerous or hazardous to you, make sure that you give your landlord written notice of that condition. You can find a sample letter here.


What if the tenant caused the uninhabitable condition?

When damage to the property is caused by the tenant or the tenant’s guest, the landlord has not breached the warranty of habitability. However, the landlord can still be responsible under the warranty of habitability if the tenant is a victim of domestic violence or abuse, the damage was a result of that violence, and the tenant gave the landlord written documentation of the domestic violence or abuse. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-503(4).


What remedies are available to tenants?

There are several remedies available to tenants, but some of the rules, such when the tenant can seek each remedy, are complicated. Tenants should read through the statute before choosing to pursue one remedy over another. The remedies include:

  • 1) Terminating the lease early;
  • 2) A court order requiring the landlord to repair the problem (this is called injunctive relief);
  • 3) Damages (such as rent reduction and other expenses); and
  • 4) Attorney fees and costs in some circumstances.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-507.


Are there any exceptions?

Yes, there are exceptions. Typical residential leases covering apartments or houses are covered by the warranty of habitability. However, the warranty of habitability does not apply to residences at public or private institutions, occupancy in a hotel or motel less than 30 days, or occupancy in a yurt or hut, among many other exceptions. If you are wondering if you fall under an exception, check this list.   Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-511.

Staying Safe Using Insecure Marketplaces

The rise of online shopping has been a huge boon to consumers. Prices, availability, and selection have never been more favorable. Most shopping interfaces are relatively safe for consumers and require little thought in terms of whether to trust a retailer. Places like Amazon, eBay, and other major online marketplaces offer assurances that goods will conform to quality standards and act as financial mediators for when there are disputes. For example, if one buys a product on Amazon and it doesn’t meet standards or never gets shipped, the consumer has avenues available within Amazon to seek a remedy.

Some marketplaces don’t afford these luxuries though, namely ones where individuals buy, sell, and trade goods and services without a robust intermediary. Places like Craigslist and other “classifieds”-style interfaces can be a true haven for bargain hunting, but without the safeguards offered by more mainstream marketplaces, consumers are at serious risk. For those who need markets like this or simply prefer them, here’s some advice that can allow one to avoid scams:

  1. Shop locally. It may be tempting to cash in on a great deal and have it shipped across the country, but often these deals are too good to be true. Try to always see what you’re buying in person. Scams right now commonly involve long-distance transactions.

A common place where consumers deviate from this rule is renting. When people move far away, they often want to ensure they have a place to stay before getting there. There are plenty of consumers who have made a deposit on a room or apartment across the country, moved there, and had no problems. There are also scores of consumers who have had worse luck, finding the “lease” they signed was for a place that either the seller didn’t own, or didn’t exist at all. To avoid this, either travel to see the place before making a payment or have a friend in the area do it for you. If this isn’t possible, consider staying in an inexpensive motel or hotel while looking for a place to rent. This may be less than ideal, but it’s certainly far less expensive than losing hundreds or even thousands on a fake deposit.

  1. Pay with card or check. While the former may not have been an option years ago, the rise of mobile applications like Venmo have made it possible to pay anyone with a smart phone and a bank account via credit or debit. Regardless of whether you use card or check, if something goes wrong at least there will be an institution to help you out and possibly issue a refund. Absent theft or fraud, many institutions won’t be able to issue a refund, but it’s best to at least have some sort of record of the transaction. Paying with check is especially helpful in this manner, as you can call your bank and stop payment on the check if you notice the problem quickly enough.

For smaller transactions, it’s usually safe to pay with cash, and many legitimate sellers may even find it unusual or refuse anyone who wishes otherwise. A general rule of thumb is to think twice about any transaction in cash if you’re not okay with that sum of cash going up in thin air if something goes wrong.

  1. Don’t give out any more personal information than required. If a far away renter or car seller asks for your social security number, bank account number, or other sensitive information, refuse. This may seem intuitive, but many people mindlessly fill out forms every year, giving out this information without second thought. Stop and think whether you know you’re engaging in a secure transaction whenever filling out a long form.
  1. Make sure to get proper documentation before completing large transactions. For example, stolen cars have turned up for sale on the internet mere days after being stolen. If you’re buying a car or motorcycle, make sure the seller has the bill of sale and it’s in their name; you can ask for their driver’s license to ensure this. Be wary of any seller that refuses to authenticate their goods or services.

Colorado’s Landlord/Tenant Laws Protect Tenants who are Victims of Domestic Violence

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.

A Colorado Tenant’s Guide to Security Deposits

A security deposit is any amount of money that your landlord collects from you (the tenant) and holds on to until you move out, to ensure that you pay rent, utility bills, and any damage charges. Your landlord keeps the deposit while you are renting, but it is technically still your money. A security deposit is often one-month’s rent. Colorado Legal Services.

When should you get your security deposit back?

Your landlord must return your security deposit (or a written statement itemizing deductions from your deposit) within one month of the end of your lease, unless your lease allows more time (not exceeding 60 days). Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103(1).

How much of your security deposit should be returned?

Your landlord may be able to keep some or all of your deposit for the following reasons:

  • to make up for missed rent payments
  • to cover unpaid utility charges
  • to repair damage to the apartment
  • to clean the apartment, if you agreed to it in your lease

Your landlord cannot keep any portion of your deposit for “normal wear and tear.” This can include faded paint, worn hinges on doors or locks, and old and worn carpet. See Coloradorenters.org.

If your landlord does have a good reason to keep some or all of your deposit, then she must give you a written statement itemizing the specific deductions from your deposit. Also, your landlord must return to you the remaining portion of your deposit with that written statement. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103(1).

What steps can you take early on to make sure that you get your security deposit back?

As discussed above, when you move out, your landlord will charge you for any damage to the apartment. However, your landlord cannot charge you for “normal wear and tear.” You should document the state of your apartment when you move in, as well as when you move out, in case you and your landlord disagree about the presence of any damage.

General rule: If you leave the apartment in the same condition as when you moved in, you should get your security deposit back (as long as you paid your rent, paid your utilities, etc.). See Colorado Renters.org.

To document the condition of your apartment, follow these steps:

  • Before you move in: Walk through the apartment with your landlord and point out any damage that you see. Make a list of any issues and have your landlord sign it. Take pictures of each room and the specific damage.
  • When you move out: Again, take pictures of the apartment. Keep these pictures in case your landlord does not return some or all of your deposit.

What if your landlord doesn’t return your security deposit?

If your landlord doesn’t return your deposit or give you a written statement of the itemized deductions within one month of the end of your lease (or within 60 days if the lease permits) then your landlord loses her right to keep any portion of your deposit. You should get the full amount of your deposit back. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103(2).

If your landlord willfully and wrongfully kept your deposit, you may be able to sue your landlord for three times the amount of the deposit. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103(3)(a).

To try to get your deposit back, follow these steps:

  • Send a letter to your landlord using certified mail demanding the deposit.
    • Here is a sample seven-day demand letter for when your landlord does not send you your deposit or a written statement listing itemized deductions.
    • Here is a sample letter disputing the charges for when you don’t agree with your landlord’s itemized deductions.
  • If you don’t hear from your landlord within seven days, consider pursuing the matter in Small Claims Court. See Colorado Legal Services for more information on filing a claim in court.