The Colorado Revised Statutes Title 38, Article 12, Section 103 dictates the following time frame and procedures for returning a tenant’s security deposit at the end of tenancy:
One Month to Deduct and Return
A landlord shall, within one month after the termination of a lease or surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs last, return to the tenant the full security deposit deposited with the landlord by the tenant, unless the lease agreement specifies a longer period of time, but not to exceed sixty days. No security deposit shall be retained to cover normal wear and tear.
Note: “Normal wear and tear” means that deterioration which occurs, based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests.
Statement of Deductions Required
In the event that actual cause exists for retaining any portion of the security deposit, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written statement listing the exact reasons for the retention of any portion of the security deposit. When the statement is delivered, it shall be accompanied by payment of the difference between any sum deposited and the amount retained.
Delivery of Security Deposit and Statement
The landlord is deemed to have complied with this section by mailing said statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant.
Note: Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant.
Penalty for Failing to Provide Statement
The failure of a landlord to provide a written statement within the required time specified in the subsection One Month to Deduct and Return shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit under this section.
Penalty for Failing to Return Security Deposit
The willful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for treble the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs; except that the tenant has the obligation to give notice to the landlord of his intention to file legal proceedings a minimum of seven days prior to filing said action.
Note: In any court action brought by a tenant under this section, the landlord shall bear the burden of proving that his withholding of the security deposit or any portion of it was not wrongful.
Tenant Rights Cannot be Waived
Any provision, whether oral or written, in or pertaining to a rental agreement whereby any provision of this section for the benefit of a tenant or members of his household is waived shall be deemed to be against public policy and shall be void.
Return to Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws.