Colorado Tenant Screening
Last Updated: January 15, 2015
Colorado is part of the Western United States, the Southwestern United States, and the Mountain States.
How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Colorado
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Colorado has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Colorado landlord-tenant Codes here. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Recent Law Changes
The new Colorado marijuana law is affecting apartment renters. 9News Report Landlords still have the power to decide whether they allow their tenants to smoke pot. Much of that say-so is dependent on the rental agreement.
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
- Security Deposit Limit And Return: Colorado does not limit how much may be charged for the security deposit. But, it does dictate when it must be returned, within one month after a tenant moves, unless the lease specifies a longer period of time, not to exceed 60 days. Landlords have a shorter amount of time to return deposits in some circumstances, such as hazardous condition involving gas equipment that requires the tenant to move out. The state sets other restrictions on deposits. See this summary on Colorado Security Deposit Laws for more on the subject.
- Mold: There are no state or local regulatory limits for mold in the home or work environment. Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment
- Small Claims Lawsuits: Tenants can sue in small claims court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $7,500. Guide To Colorado Security Deposit Disputes.
- Notice Required To Raise Rent: Colorado law regulates the amount of notice, at least 10 days for month-to-month leases, landlords must give tenants to raise the rent and how much time, three days, a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction. Colorado Renters Guide
- Tenant Rights To Withhold Rent: Tenants may withhold rent if a landlord fails to take care of important repairs, such as a broken heater. Colorado Renters Guide
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Colorado:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Colorado: Montezuma County Sheriffs Office, CO Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Denver, Dolores, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, La Plata, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld, Yuma.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Denver, Dolores, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, La Plata, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, NULL, Otero, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld, Yuma.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor® include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Colorado Landlords
- Colorado State Bar Association Lawyer Search
- Colorado State Court System
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Colorado (Wikipedia)