Finding the Right Rental

There is more to becoming a tenant than seeing a “For Rent” sign, and then signing a lease. And there is more to being a landlord than placing the sign and hoping for a good tenant.

Avoid problems by determining first – Is This Unit Right for You?

Know the Zoning and Codes - Greeleygov.com/planning

  • How is the property zoned?
  • How many families are allowed in the unit being looked at?
    • No more than two unrelated adults can live in a house in the R-L zone.
    • Houses or apartments in the R-M zone also do not allow more than two unrelated adults per dwelling unit (18.38.030)

What constitutes a family?

Family, for purposes of housing occupancy within City zoning codes, is defined as one of the following:

  • One person living alone.
  • Any number of persons related by blood, marriage or adoption.
  • Up to two unrelated persons and their blood relatives, excluding persons related only by marriage

Safety should be of utmost importance

  • Lighting – on street, parking areas, at the door
  • Locks on windows and doors
  • Door and window screens in place and secure
  • Stairwells – well lit, railings secure
  • For basement units/bedrooms - bedrooms should be well ventilated and away from the furnace; emergency exits should be easily accessible.
  • Entire premises - clean, well-maintained
  • Kitchen fire extinguisher
  • Gas appliances in good order – no natural gas odor
  • Smoke and fire detectors present
  • Parking – close to the unit
  • Bioaerosols – are microscopic living organisms or fragments of living things suspended in the air. Dust mites, molds, fungi, spores, pollen, bacteria viruses, amoebas, plant material fragments, and human and pet dander are examples. In some individuals, Bioaerosols may contribute to severe health problems such as colds, pneumonia or allergic reactions. Allergic reactions may occur on the skin and/or the respiratory tract. Mold, mildew and dust mites are the most common causes of problems in the home. These contaminants can be controlled by making some simple changes to the home environment. Reducing moisture sources, reducing the relative humidity, and by removing materials which contribute to the growth of Bioaerosols are steps one can take to make home a healthy place.
  • If you have visible mold, eliminate the moisture source and clean it up. Remediation tips can be found at www.epa.gov/iaq/molds.
  • For a list of Indoor Air Quality Consultants, contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Cdphe).

Location

  • Distance from work, school, public transportation, and other services
  • Type – Apartment, condo, townhouse, duplex, mobile home, rental-to-share, room in private house
  • Area schools – If children are involved, are the designated schools acceptable? If not, can children be transferred to the school of choice?
  • Proximity to services needed – laundromat, medical care, grocery, etc.
  • Is the location one in which tenants will feel safe and comfortable with the surroundings and other persons in the neighborhood?

Tenants should closely inspect the entire premises, including everything from the provided furniture to mechanical systems. If possible, talk with the current tenant about any problems they’ve encountered with the unit and/or the landlord. Just as the landlord should ask for references on the tenant, so should the tenant request references on the landlord.

Landlords A wise practice is to be proactive when it comes to tenant references. Prior to offering a lease, talk with former landlords. Check the references carefully – past rental history, income, and employment. It could save you headaches down the road. Both a credit check and background check can be helpful when deciding on a prospective tenant. Be aware, however, that if you require one prospective tenant to provide the information necessary to perform a background and credit check, you must require the same information from alol prospective tenants. Contact the resources below for more information on obtaining these records.

Credit Check
Criminal Background Check

Cost

  • Is the unit affordable and in line with what tenant budgeted?
  • What is included in the rent payment – electricity, gas, trash pick-up, extended cable, water? (Utility deposits may be required, particularly for 1st-time renters.)
  • What additional living expenses are expected – Internet access, garage or covered parking space, phone, maintenance, furniture and draperies?
  • Security Deposit – how much? Is it all due at the time the lease is signed?
  • Has tenant budgeted for renter’s insurance? (Must be acquired by tenant.)

Roomates

Money saver? Yes. But select roommates carefully!

  • Be sure City codes and the lease allow for roommates
  • Allow for adequate parking
  • Ask about habits, schedules, and values
  • Agree who is responsible for rent and late fees; what happens if one roommate can’t make the rent?
  • How will payments of damages be handled?
  • Address pet issues. Are they allowed? Who pays for damage caused by pets?

Needs and Wants

  • Furnished/not furnished
  • Size – large enough? (or small enough?)
  • Adequate number of bedrooms and baths
  • Accessible and/or suitable for persons with physical disabilities or hearing/visual disabilities
  • On site amenities – laundry, club house/common area, pool, workout room, etc.
  • Is the unit cable-ready?
  • Is internet access available?
  • Is closet space adequate?
  • Is additional storage space available?
  • Do you want covered parking?
  • Do you want private yard space/deck/porch?

Special Considerations

  • Are pets allowed? If so, is an additional deposit required?
  • Are children allowed?
  • If you have pets or children – is the yard appropriately fenced and play space adequate?
  • Are you allowed to garden in the yard?

Applications and Checking References

Many problems can be avoided by landlords ensuring a tenant has a good rental history, and by tenants making sure a landlord has a good history of fairness to tenants. Taking extra time at the application stage can help all parties make informed decisions.

Fair Housing - An Equal Opportunity For All

The Fair Housing Act, enforced by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hud), prohibits discrimination and the intimidation of people in their homes, apartment buildings, and condominium developments – in nearly all housing transactions, including the rental and sale of housing and provision of mortgage loans. Laws can be complicated, and there are some exceptions. This information is provided to help individuals avoid or resolve conflicts in the area of fair housing; however, the information contained herein is not, and cannot substitute for, legal advice about a specific problem that you may be encountering. For a legal opinion concerning a specific problem that you may be having, please consult an attorney.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race (Refers to a family, tribe, or group of people coming from the same common ancestors)
  • Color (The color of a person’s skin)
  • Religion (All aspects of religious belief, observance, and practice)
  • National Origin (The country in which a person was born, or from which the person’s ancestors came)
  • Gender (Includes gender [male/female], gender identity, and gender expression. Also includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth)
  • Familial Status (Refers to a situation where there is one or more persons under age 18 who reside with a parent, legal guardian, etc. This also applies in the case of pregnancy or for people who are in the process of gaining legal custody of a person under age 18)
  • Disability (Refers to both mental and physical disabilities)

Colorado state law further protects from discrimination based upon:

  • Sexual Orientation (A person’s orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status or another person’s perception thereof)
  • Creed (All aspects of religious beliefs, observances or practices, as well as sincerely-held moral and ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, and/or addresses ultimate ideas or questions regarding the meaning of existence, as well as the beliefs or teachings of a particular religion, church, denomination, or sect. A creed does not include political beliefs, association with political beliefs or political interests, or membership in a political party.)
  • Ancestry (From where one’s family originated or descended. One’s heritage.)
  • Marital Status

What is prohibited?

In the rental of housing, no one may take any of the following actions based on any of the above protected classes:

  • Refuse to rent, make housing unavailable, or otherwise deny a dwelling.
  • Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for rental of a dwelling.
  • Provide different housing services or facilities.
  • Falsely deny housing is available for rent.
  • Deny any person access to, membership or participation in, any organization, facility or service related to the rental of dwellings or discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation.
  • To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. Advertising includes all kinds of advertising: online, newspaper, flyer, posted signs, etc. The rules applying to advertising include persons advertising for a roommate.

How do fair housing laws apply to roommates/housemates?

  • Typically exempt from significant portions of fair housing laws, but still covered by advertising regulations.

What can’t be advertised when looking for a roommate?

  • Anything that references a protected class.
    • In shared housing where residents would share a bathroom, kitchen, or other common area, preference based on your gender only is allowable. (“Female seeking female” or male seeking male” would be allowed if there is shared living.) Gender should not be referenced at all if there are no shared living areas.
    • Exceptions: Housing specifically for older persons or housing operated by private clubs or religious organizations.
  • Examples of unlawful language:
    • Race of Color: Advertising “white neighborhood”, “blacks preferred”, “I’m not a racist, but I prefer to live with whites”, “Native American female seeking same”, etc.
    • Religion: Advertising “seeking fellow Christian”, “no Muslims”, “prefer Jewish roommate”, etc.
    • National Origin: Advertising “ideal for Latinos”, “no immigrants or foreigners”, or saying, “this is a Hispanic neighborhood, you might not feel welcome”, etc.
    • Gender: Advertising “male seeking female”, etc.
    • Familial Status: Advertising “no children”, “singles preferred”, or saying “no kids”, etc.
    • Disability: Advertising “no wheelchairs allowed”, “no seeing eye dogs”, etc.
    • Elderliness: Advertising “lots of young people in the building”, “I’m 24 and seeking someone my age”, “must be under 40”, etc.

What can be said?

  • Reference anything about the property’s amenities, lease terms etc.

Additional protection for persons with disabilities

If you or someone associated with you

  • Has a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility, and visual impairments, cancer, chronic mental illness, Hiv/Aids, or mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Has a record of such a disability Or
  • Are regarded as having such a disability

A landlord cannot

  • Refuse to rent or sell to a person who has a physical or mental disability
  • Ask a person with a disability for medical information or details about the disability
  • Ask whether the person is able to live independently
  • Ask for more information than would be asked any other potential tenant
  • Refuse to rent to a person because of someone associated with him/her
  • Ask how you will cook, clean your apartment or what kind of medication your child takes
  • Prevent you from having a guide dog or any other kind of aid animal that you need due to your disability
  • Restrict the use of the amenities, such as the use of a pool that is available to other tenants
  • Try to convince you not to rent, or assign you to a certain area of the building or living complex, or lie about the availability of the housing

Additionally, a landlord may not

  • Refuse to allow you to make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common-use areas (at your expense) if it may be necessary for you to fully use the housing. (Where reasonable, a landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
    • Reasonable accommodations are waivers of rules or policies so that a person with a disability has an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the housing. Common examples are waivers of “no pet” policies for service animals or an assigned parking place for someone with a mobility disability. The person with the disability must request the rule change and the housing provider may require a doctor’s statement verifying that the person is disabled and needs the requested accommodation.
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services if it may be necessary for you to use the housing on an equal basis with non-disabled persons.

If you think your rights have been violated

Contact the Denver Regional Office of Hud:

Complaints_office_08@hud.gov
U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
1670 Broadway
Denver, Co 80202-4801

(303) 672-5437
1-800-877-7353
Tty (303) 672-5248
Or Federal Information Relay Service – 1-800-877-8339

You will be asked to provide your name and address, name and address of the person your complaint is against, address or other identification of the housing involved, short description of the alleged violation, and date(s) of the alleged violation.

The complaint can be made online, by letter, or by phone call. Hud can also provide interpreters, tapes and braille materials, and assistance in reading and completing forms. The complaint will be investigated and appropriate measures taken. The www.hud.gov website has additional information on fair housing and filing a fair housing complaint and the subsequent process.

A discrimination complaint may also be filed with the State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Civil Rights at 1-800-262-4845 (English/Spanish), hearing impaired through dialing 711. You may also get information about the Colorado Civil Rights Division at its web site www.dora.state.co.us/civil-rights. Under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Hud, the Division accepts and investigates a complaint jointly filed under both Colorado and federal law.

The Application – What should be included?

  • Written notification that background, criminal, credit, etc. checks will be performed, with space for applicant to acknowledge that they have received the notification and are giving permission for the searches to be done.
  • Employment, income
  • Credit histories
  • Driver’s License number
  • Social Security number
  • Past evictions
  • Past bankruptcies (These will show on a credit report)
  • References

Tenants should be prepared to pay a non- refundable application fee to cover costs of running background and/or credit checks. Prior to doing this, and prior to submitting formal application, tenants should be sure they understand what will be expected of them as a tenant at that location (rental requirements).

Landlords While the rental requirements which applicants will be expected to meet are a landlord’s decision, it is imperative that every individual applicant be treated equally. Prior to accepting a deposit or application, review requirements with the adults who want to applyand then have each of them acknowledge the receipt of a copy and understanding the requirements.

Documentation Needed

Landlords should require these two forms of identification, verify the applicant/Id form, and keep copies of these documents in the tenant’s rental file:

  • A valid, current driver’s license or State issued photo Id card, and
  • Signed, original Social Security card.
  • Copies of identifications should be kept in a safe place to avoid the chance of the information being stolen.

Compliance for Landlords

All landlords are expected to be in compliance with State and Federal Fair Housing laws, cannot discriminate against protected classes, and must ensure that all applicants are treated fairly and equally. Follow these guidelines to stay in compliance with Fair Housing laws:

  • A landlord may not discriminate in any of these areas: race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, persons with a physical or mental disability, marital status, or families with children under the age of 18.
  • Landlords are free to choose among prospective tenants as long as their decisions comply with the laws and are based on legitimate business criteria. (Examples – poor credit history, insufficient income to pay rent, past behavior.)
  • If only a criminal records search is required, always run a Colorado Criminal/Civil record search on each adult who will be occupying the premises. This is true even if the applicant is not from Colorado.
  • Treat everyone equally. That means, if you run the search on one applicant, you must run it on all applicants.
  • Avoid discrimination against single persons by running searches on both persons in a couple (married and non-married).
  • If 18-year olds are allowed to sign your lease, run them as an individual even if they just turned 18 or have parental consent to rent. The person may have committed a crime serious enough to have been charged as an adult (thus it would appear on a ? records search even though records for minors are sealed).
  • Recognize that an out-of-state search may also be necessary, if applicant has recently moved to Colorado from another state.
  • With regard to credit reports – be sure to run one on every applicant. Married couples have individual credit histories.

Always keep in mind, it is better to have no tenant than to have a bad tenant.

Tenants Background and criminal checks benefit tenants as well as landlords. It should be comforting to know that your neighbor was carefully screened, and that precautions were taken to help avoid persons who would present a moral or physical danger to the other tenants.

Landlords Prescreening all applicants equally for background, criminal, and/or credit issues not only ensures that you are in compliance with Federal and State Fair Housing laws, but careful screening may prevent renting to persons with histories of domestic violence, criminal assaults, alcohol related offences, child molestation, etc. Follow your posted guidelines.

Conducting Background And/Or Credit Searches – getting started

The first step for landlords should be to determine who will conduct the background check and who will be responsible for the cost.

  • The landlord may choose to absorb the cost of checking an applicant’s credit, references, and/or background as a cost of doing business.
  • Or, a nonrefundable “tenant screening application fee” may be charged to the prospective applicant.
  • The prospective applicant must receive written notification of and understand which fees and/or deposits are nonrefundable.

Reference Checks - Landlords

Asking for references is only effective when the references are actually checked. Suggested ways to verify information supplied by an applicant follow.

  • Verify the employment and income information by calling the prospective applicant’s place of employment.
  • Conduct a criminal background check.
  • Verify bank account information.
  • Call previous landlords. As long as a (former) landlord sticks to the facts that are relevant to the tenant’s creditworthiness, they are allowed to provide credit information. (To be extra careful, have tenants sign a release giving the landlord permission to respond to such requests.) Ask about payment history, how the unit was maintained, if there were problems with tenant behavior, etc. If possible, get the comments in writing.
  • Call utility companies to verify payment histories.
  • Run a credit check from one (or more) of the 3 major credit-reporting bureaus. Past judgments specific to rentals will show up, as will how the applicant handles payment obligations. Be aware of your obligations if the prospective tenant is denied a rental based on information contained in the credit report. If denied, the applicant must be provided the following information:
    • Name, address, and phone number of the credit-reporting agency providing the information on which the denial was based.
    • The reason the application was rejected.
    • Notice that the applicant has the right to obtain a free copy of the report if requested within 60 days of the denial.
  • Landlords might want to consider hiring the services of a private company specializing in employment screening and tenant verifications. They have the training and knowledge to check backgrounds, and while the cost may seem high, the end result could actually save money, time, and frustration for landlords. A “tenant screening application fee” can offset the cost of hiring this type of service.

Tenants Your prospective landlord may collect a great deal of personal information on you prior to offering a lease. For your safety, before giving any personal information ask how that information will be protected, how long the information will remain in the landlord’s records, and if it is shredded following that. Don’t take a chance on your identity being stolen due to faulty record keeping.

Landlords It is highly advisable to have a written policy with regard to the protection of an applicant/ tenant’s personal information, and then always follow that policy.

Reference Checks – Tenants

It is within a landlord’s rights to request personal information from a prospective applicant if it is needed to verify that person(s) qualifications as a prospective tenant. However, applicants should also protect themselves. Suggestions for ways to do this follow:

  • Be aware of your rights under the Fair Housing laws. If you are not familiar with these laws, ask to see a copy, or do an online search so that the laws can be reviewed.
  • Also be aware of your rights if you feel your rights under the Fair Housing laws were violated and how, to whom, and where you would report violation complaints.
  • Ask to see the Rental Requirements. If you don’t feel you meet the qualifications, don’t waste your money and the landlord’s time by submitting an application.
  • Ask for specifics on how the information you provide the landlord will be protected. Identity theft is a real and dangerous problem. Ensure that your personal information will be protected.

It is within a tenant’s rights to ask for references from the landlord, also. Some suggestions—

  • Conduct a “mailbox test.” Are all the labels different, as if the tenants put labels on themselves? Are the names written on the mailbox with a felt marker or scratched into the metal? Are the mailboxes broken or lacking locks? Something as small as how this area is maintained may be indicative of how the entire property is maintained.
  • Talk with neighbors of the unit you are considering. Have there been issues with property maintenance, with bad tenants, etc?
  • Call the City Neighborhood Resource Office. Are the properties registered? Have complaints been logged with regard to building conditions?
  • Ask for a list of former tenants, and contact several. Was the landlord easily accessible when there were maintenance and repair issues? Was the deposit returned in a timely fashion and any deductions properly disclosed? Were there problems with other tenants? How frequently was rent increased? Was proper notification given?

Tenants be comfortable with the landlord from whom you will be renting. It will be a permanent relationship for the lease term. Determine whether relationship feels comfortable before you are legally bound to a lease.

The Lease

Prior to Signing the Lease

Once a lease has been signed, both landlord and tenant are legally bound to its terms.

Before signing:

Exact Unit Should Be Seen – not one “just like it”

Do An Inspection – If this is the unit to be rented:

  • The landlord and prospective tenant should inspect the unit together. If this is not possible, the tenant should bring an unbiased person to accompany him/her.
  • Document condition and needed repairs on a Property Checklist (a sample is provided at the end of the booklet), even if the landlord makes no promise to repair.
  • Take photos or video of the unit, particularly areas of problems or concerns. Give a verbal description while taping.
  • Sign and date the checklist – (both parties!)
  • Make the checklist a part of the lease through a statement on the lease (also signed and dated by both parties)

Do Not Sign A Lease Or Pay A Deposit To “Hold” The Rental. Loss of deposit and additional damages could result. Money should be exchanged only after the decision to rent has been made.

The Lease

A common theme throughout this booklet is that a lease is a legally binding contract or agreement between landlord and tenant that grants a tenant use of a landlord’s property for a given period of time. It may be on a preprinted form, or written by the landlord. (Although there is no such thing as a “standard” lease, a “sample” lease is provided in Section 6.)

A lease contains the rules and terms that control the time of possession. If parts of the lease don’t apply, that section should be crossed out and initialed by both the tenant and landlord. Leases should not be signed until all terms and conditions are understood and agreed to. Once signed, it is legally binding.

Tenants once you sign a lease, you are legally bound to its terms. The time to determine the “rightness” of a unit is prior to signing. Understand what you are signing, and if you have questions, ask for clarification until you do understand! This will be “home” for the term of possession!

Landlords Completing a property checklist with the prospective tenant prior to signing a lease can help document property condition before disputes arise. Always provide your tenants with nothing less than a decent, safe, and sanitary home in which to live.

Types Of Leases

Oral

  • Binding, but difficult to prove
  • Best to put even month-to-month agreements in writing

Written

  • A written document
  • Landlord may draft the lease, or a preprinted form can be used
  • Written leases are recommended

Month-To-Month

  • A contract for one month at a time, whether oral or written
  • Landlord can raise the rent at the end of any month, with proper notification
  • Easily terminated with proper notification
  • Lease terms may also be altered, with notification, at the end of every term
  • Proper notice is written notice received no less than 10 days before month’s end by whomever is giving notice

Term

  • A contract to lease for a certain period of time, such as 1 year
  • Provides tenant with the most protection against rent increases, changes to contract, or termination prior to end of term
  • Tenant is obligated to pay rent and fulfill contract for complete term of lease
  • Unless breached, landlord is obligated to rent for the length of the term, under the conditions, and at rent amount outlined in lease
  • Not easy to terminate

Proper Notifications

In Colorado, if no lease agreement is in effect, and no rent monies are due, a landlord can evict a tenant without cause. Written notice to the tenant corresponds to the term of the tenancy:

  • If tenancy is one year or longer – 90 days
  • 6 months or longer, but less than 1 year – 30 days
  • 1 month or longer, but less than 6 months – 10 days
  • 1 week or longer, but less than one month or tenancy at will – 3 days
  • For a tenancy of less than 1 week – 1 day

Tenants Do not withhold rent for any reason (including for payment of repairs) without first seeking the advice of legal counsel. You could be at risk for being evicted for non-payment of rent.

Landlords Acceptance of partial rent gives the tenant the right to occupancy of the unit for the entire month. Rather, hold the check for partial payment and serve notice of what the tenant owes. Cash the check only after the rent payment has been paid in full.

Parts Of The Lease

Every Lease Should Clearly State

  • Address of rental unit
  • Names of tenants and landlord
  • Length of lease
  • Inventory of any furniture provided

The Lease Should Address

Rent
  • How much and when it is due
  • What happens if the due date is on a holiday or weekend
  • Where payment should be made
  • Provisions for rent increases
    Note: (If the tenant is nearing the end of the lease and is notified by the landlord that rent will increase after the lease expires, the tenant has the option to give notice of intent to terminate the lease at the end of the end of the lease period. If the tenant does not take this option and continues to rent the property, the new lease will be for the increased amount of rent, even though there has been nothing signed or agreed to. The landlord’s only responsibility is to provide the tenant with notice of the increase.)
  • If you have roommates – who is responsible for the rent and late fees?
    Note: (Keep in mind that under most agreements, even if there are one or more roommates, each tenant may be responsible for the entire amount of the rent. If one roommate pays their portion of the rent but a roommate cannot pay his or her portion, the landlord could hold the “paid-in-full tenant” responsible for the unpaid amount of rent and late fees, in addition to his/her own portion.)
Late Fees/Attorney Fees
  • When will late fees be attached to the rent?
  • What happens if only a portion of the rent is paid?
  • Are late fees “flat rate” or do they accumulate daily?
  • Who is responsible for payment of attorney fees in the event a tenant prevails in legal action brought against him/her? Ask to change the clause from “landlord” to “prevailing party”, if necessary.
  • Both landlord and tenant should always keep copies of any receipts associated with the rental of the unit. They will prove valuable in the case of disputes!

Tenants The tenant is entitled to a full return of the security deposit when the terms of the lease have been fulfilled. Colorado law requires that it be returned within 30 days, or if extended by the terms of the lease, 60 days.

Landlords If a landlord fails to provide a tenant with either a full deposit return Or a written statement of deductions and the balance of the deposit, (s)he forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the deposit. However, the landlord may still sue the tenant in court for unpaid rent, damage to the premises, or any other monies owed by the tenant.

Security Deposit

Usually, a landlord will require a security deposit at the time the lease is signed. The security deposit secures the performance of the lease. The security deposit is Not rent, and cannot be used as such unless the landlord agrees (preferably in writing).

The security deposit amount is determined by the landlord, but is generally equal to approximately one month’s rent. It may also be called a damage deposit, pet deposit, or cleaning deposit.

Tenant should look at all parts of the lease that might allow a landlord to keep all or part of the deposit, or might require the tenant to give up the deposit.

The landlord may keep all or part of the deposit for these reasons:

  • Unpaid utility bills owed by the tenant
  • Unpaid rent. (Note: If a tenant moves out before the end of the lease period, (s)he is still responsible for the rent. The landlord must make a reasonable attempt to re-rent. However, if the new rent is lower, the tenant may be held responsible for difference in rent and reasonable costs of re-renting the unit. If the unpaid rent is more than the deposit, the landlord may sue to recover the difference.)
  • Cleaning and Damages. Thoroughly clean a day or two prior to lease end; inspect with landlord present. If areas are unsuitable to the landlord, make the necessary changes. Deductions may be made to restore the premises to pre-lease condition. A tenant may not be charged for “normal wear and tear” (see Glossary of Terms), however, deductions for the cost of damages and/or cleaning due to neglect, carelessness, accident, or abuse by the tenant, members of his/her household or guests may be taken.
  • Breach of lease. Deductions may be taken for costs caused by any other breach of the lease – for example failing to water and maintain the lawn and trees, if that was a tenant responsibility.
  • Understand how the security deposit is returned.
  • The lease governs by when the deposit - or an itemized statement of the deductions and balance of the deposit - must be returned – either 30 or 60 days.
  • Tenant should collect the deposit in person, or leave a forwarding address. (Landlord must either deliver or mail the full deposit, or a statement of deductions and the balance of the deposit, to the last known address of the tenant.)
  • Remedy for withheld security deposit
    • Attempt to negotiate. If that fails:
    • Tenant must send landlord a 7-day demand letter (see Glossary of Terms).
      • The letter should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested
      • A copy may also be sent by regular mail
      • Keep a copy for your records
    • The matter ends if the landlord returns the deposit in full or pays the disputed portion.
    • If the landlord doesn’t respond to the tenant’s satisfaction, the tenant may sue to obtain the return of the deposit.
    • If any portion was “willfully and wrongfully” withheld, a tenant may sue for up to 3 times the amount that was willfully and wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
    • In court, it is the landlord’s responsibility to prove that the amount withheld was within their legal rights.
    • The tenant may be sued for any damages done to the apartment outside of any security deposit dispute. Attorney fees and court costs, as set forth in the lease, may be included. The amount may be more than the deposit, if damages exceed that amount.

Tenants If a security deposit is paid, the amount should be in writing. Tenant should always keep the receipt for any deposit paid. Whether called a damage deposit, cleaning deposit, or pet deposit it is still a security deposit and will be treated as such by Colorado law.

Landlords The burden is on the landlord to either prove the right to keep the deposit, or to return it as stipulated in the rental agreement. A landlord cannot keep the deposit and require the tenant to prove that it should be returned. Furthermore, the landlord must provide proof that the amount of damage to the unit was caused by that tenant or someone associated with that tenant.

Other Things To Consider Regarding Deposits:
  • As discussed earlier, a tenant should list any existing damages and necessary cleaning, preferably with the landlord present. Doing so lets the landlord know of repairs needed, and will serve as proof of condition when the tenant moves.
  • The landlord and tenant should both sign and date.
  • The tenant should be sure to provide the landlord with proper notice (as specified in the lease) when deciding to move.
  • There are special provisions when dealing with a hazardous condition concerning a gas appliance.
    • If a service person from a gas utility service becomes aware of a hazardous situation, the customer residing at that address will be notified.
    • The tenant should then immediately notify the landlord.
    • A professional must complete the necessary repairs within 72 hours of receipt of the notice (excluding weekends and holidays). The tenant must receive written proof that the work was completed.
    • If repairs are not made and the condition remains hazardous, tenant may choose to vacate, declare the lease null and void, and demand immediate return of any or all deposit to which the tenant is entitled.
    • It is advisable that the tenant provide the landlord with written notice advising of the tenant’s decision and demand for deposit return.
    • The landlord has an additional 72 hours in which to return the deposit. If (s)he does not do so, the tenant may sue for up to 2 times the amount of the deposit and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Tenants should always receive a copy of the signed lease and any other documents (e.g. property checklist) that were added to the lease itself. Keep the copy in a safe place for the entire term of possession. The lease will be referred to in dispute cases.

Landlords A landlord by virtue of renting a property, warrants that the premises are fit for human habitation and for these uses reasonable intended by the parties. A tenant may withhold rent from a landlord if and only if, three conditions are met:

  1. The tenant finds that the rental unit is unfit for the uses reasonable intended by the landlord and tenant, and
  2. The rental unit contains a condition that is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant's life, health or safety, and
  3. The landlord has received written notice of the condition and has failed to correct it

Note: C.R.S. §§38-12-501-511 contain exceptions and requirement for withholding or rent and describe a specific process a tenant must follow. If, as a tenant, you are thinking of seeking remedy under the requirements of this status, seek advice from an attorney. to repair violates the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the premises; (4) The repairs are for common areas; (5) The repairs are necessary to correct a dangerous or latent (present but not visible) defect.

Repairs

Since who is responsible for repairs can be a much disputed area, it is important for landlords and tenants to negotiate for repair responsibility prior to signing the lease, and, as stated earlier, conduct a thorough property inspection prior to leasing.

Colorado law deems it the landlord’s responsibility to repair rental property under these circumstances
  • A specific agreement in the lease states it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain or repair the rental, or the landlord and tenant have a specific agreement that states the landlord will make certain repairs.
  • There is a hazardous, dangerous condition caused by gas-burning equipment.
  • The needed repairs are in common areas – sidewalks, parking lots, stairways, hallways, etc.
  • The repair/maintenance is required to conform to City codes.
As other repairs are negotiable, it is wise to
  • Clearly state the procedure for repairs, including whom to contact and how contact should be made, where notice should be given, how long before the repair will be completed, etc.
  • Make the procedure a part of the lease (initialed and dated by all parties).
  • Understand the terms “promise to repair” and “repair and deduct”. Know when “repair and deduct” can be invoked (see Glossary of Terms).
  • Get all promises to repair in writing.
  • Keep receipt copies for all work done.
  • Beware of “as is” clauses.
  • Landlord may not automatically deduct a specific amount from the security deposit. Carefully examine lease for clauses regarding contracted cleaning or automatic deductions – for example, $50.00 for painting.
  • If necessary, modify lease to read, “the tenant will contract for cleaning only beyond normal wear and tear”.
  • Photographs of needed repairs are handy in the event legal action becomes necessary. (Tenant should always try, first, to make diligent efforts to resolve the issue with the landlord.)
If the tenant has problems getting repairs done:
  • When repairs are necessary, tell landlord immediately and follow-up with a written note. If (s)he agrees to the repairs, wait for a reasonable period, then…
  • Contact the landlord again and ask why the repairs haven’t been completed. There may be a good reason. Again, wait for a reasonable amount of time, then, if repairs are still not done…
  • Write a letter restating the history of the problem. Include actual dates and any promises that were made. If the lease states the landlord is responsible for repairs, quote that portion of the lease. Request that the repairs be completed by a certain date.
  • As always, the tenant should keep a copy for his/her files.
  • Send the original by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  • If there is still no action – contact an attorney for advice.

Tenants Under Colorado law, the tenant is presumed responsible for all repairs and maintenance duties unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

Tenants
Landlords

In Greeley, both the Landlord and the Tenant are responsible for code violations such as:

  • Overgrown weeds
  • Refuse (Includes inside furniture such as sofas, left outside)
  • Trash accumulation
  • Inoperable cars
  • Appropriate parking
  • Snow removal
  • Appropriate landscape
  • Outdoor signs
As violations can result in substantial fines, avoid any conflict or misunderstanding by being clear from the start where the responsibility lies.

Renter Improvements

  • Is the tenant allowed to make reasonable improvements?
  • What do “reasonable improvements” include? Paint? Wallpaper?
  • Is the tenant allowed to change the locks?
  • Most tenants will want to hang things on the walls. Discuss beforehand what appropriate (permanent attachments vs. simple nails) is and how patching needs to be done at move out.

Landscape and Yard Maintenance

  • Most problems concerning care and upkeep of property can be avoided if it is clear from the start what responsibilities fall to the landlord, and which fall to the tenant. Put it in writing and make it part of the lease. (Remember to sign and date.)
  • What does “property maintenance” encompass – watering, lawn mowing, snow removal?
  • If the tenant is able to do the work – will the landlord provide the necessary equipment?

Tenants Most leases create “joint and several liability” between tenant and roommates. What this means is that each tenant signing the lease is responsible for all of the terms and conditions of the lease.

For example – If one roommate punches a hole in the wall then leaves and doesn’t pay his/her portion of the rent, the remaining roommates are responsible for: All of the rent, and repair of the damages

Landlords City codes determine how many persons can live in a unit, what constitutes a family, what is considered adequate parking, and other zoning issues. Prior to renting units, landlords should be sure that what you are renting out is legal within the City’s laws.

Landlord Access

  • Under what circumstances can the landlord enter the unit? (Some leases allow for entry at any time, for any reason, and without tenant’s consent.)
  • How will other parties gain access to the unit, such as a City inspector or repair personnel?
  • Tenant protection can be achieved by making a 24-hour notice-of-entry a stipulation on the lease (except in emergency cases).

Roommates, Overnight Guests, and Pets

Look for answers to the following questions in the lease:

  • Are roommates allowed?
  • Must all roommates be listed on the lease?
  • What happens if one roommate moves out and another moves in?
  • What constitutes a guest?
  • How long may a guest stay? Must permission be given if a guest is to spend several nights?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are pets discussed in your roommate questionnaire and agreement?
  • Will having pets increase the amount of the security deposit?
  • How will yards be maintained with outdoor pets?
  • What happens in the event of complaints from neighbors?

Children

As with all lease areas, make certain issues with regard to children are clarified before you rent the property to avoid an unnecessary move.

  • Are children allowed?
  • Determine whether or not they must be named on the lease.
  • Ask if there is a limit as to the number of people allowed to occupy the premises.
  • What happens if the tenant is at the limit, and has another child?
  • Does the property have a play area?
  • Has the tenant checked what schools his/her children will attend?

Tenants may waive their to a covenant (promise) of quiet enjoyment if the lease signed contains a waiver of this type. Currently, tenants in Colorado have little legislative protection. A tenant’s best protection is to negotiate terms in the rental agreement or lease. Try to delete or modify clauses that are disadvantageous. Everything is negotiable until the contract is signed. (Date and sign changes!)

Landlords may choose not to rent to students, or to rent to students only if they are graduate students or over the age of 21 without violating any current nondiscrimination laws.

Rules of Behavior

  • Rules such as “no loud parties” or “quiet after midnight” should be clear and in writing to avoid problems and misunderstandings.
  • Attach a copy of the Rules of Behavior to the lease, initialed and dated by all parties.
  • If there is a clause stating, “tenant agrees to comply with all printed regulations now made or subsequently furnished”, tenant may want to have “subsequently furnished” deleted.

Quiet Enjoyment

From the Colorado Tenant’s Handbook: “As a tenant you have a legal right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises. This means you are allowed to live in your home free of unreasonable disturbances. If the landlord interferes with your quiet enjoyment and peaceful enjoyment, then he/she (sic) is violating the primary benefit anyone receives when renting a home.”

  • “Quiet enjoyment” is not governed by a specific law or statute, but evolved from old English common law, and has been enforced as common law since that time.
  • It is recognized to be a valid, unwritten law – and enforceable.
  • “Quiet enjoyment” prevents a landlord from appearing any time of the day or night to make repairs, or cause a tenant to suffer unreasonable disturbances in any way.
  • The lease may not specifically mention “quiet enjoyment”, however, a tenant is entitled to a tenancy free from unreasonable disturbances under the control of the landlord.
  • An attorney should be contacted if a tenant believes his/her right to “quiet enjoyment” has been breached.

Miscellaneous Issues

  • Is tenant allowed to operate a business from the premises?
  • Are there limitations on where the tenant may place signs or decorations that are visible from the outside of the unit?
  • Review a copy of the City codes with regard to allowable outside furniture.
Parking

City code determines what constitutes a lawful parking space, including location, access, and a paved surface. If you are unsure, contact the City Planning Department. Also consider:

  • Tenants should note the location of parking. Is it close enough to the unit to be convenient and safe?
  • Be clear on how many vehicles are allowed.
  • Where is parking Not allowed?
  • Is parking included in the rent payment, or is that an additional charge?
  • Where will guests be expected to park?
  • If there is nothing in the lease with regard to parking, a tenant should physically inspect the grounds to determine that a parking space is available and suitable.

Landlords When a landlord does something that interferes with a tenant’s use and enjoyment of rented premises, it is called a “constructive eviction.”

Tenants may decide to move out and not be responsible for the remainder of the lease. If the tenant wishes to stay, corrective actions can be taken. A utility shutoff is a “constructive eviction”. The tenant may have the utilities turned back on at his/her expense and take legal action against the landlord to recover the expense incurred to have the utilities turned on.

Utilities and Trash

As this may increase the cost to live in a unit, always be clear as to who is responsible for payment of utilities and trash. Other areas for discussion:

  • Where is the trash receptacle for the unit?
  • Does the landlord provide trashcans, or must the tenant furnish?
  • Discuss the monthly cost of utilities (if they are not included), and consider that when budgeting.
  • When considering the cost of utilities as a tenant, include expense for more than just the standard heat, electricity, and water. Will you need phone service? Do you want cable? What about the cost of Internet access?
  • Review any information available with regard to what the utility costs were the previous year, or contact the local utility companies and request an estimate of the average monthly utility bills.
Subleasing
  • Landlord - It is generally in your best interest not to sublease.
  • If the landlord allows for subleasing - Document on the lease the names of all persons who will occupy the unit. Include a clause that prohibits or voids any subleasing or assignment.
  • If subletting occurs despite the lease terms, the landlord may need to initiate legal or eviction action.
  • If no action is taken, waiver of the subletting clause may result.
  • Tenant - If a Subletting or Assignment Clause is contained in the lease stating that the tenant may not sublet any part of the premises and may not assign the lease or any interest therein without the written consent of the landlord, it is recommended that the clause be re-written to, “Circumstances allowing reassignment or subletting must come from the landlord and may not be withheld without a good reason”.
  • It is preferable for a tenant is to negotiate with the landlord for an early release from the lease – thus being free of continuing obligation, as the original tenant is responsible for the new tenants until the sublease is up.
All lease clauses are negotiable. However, to be legally binding any changes made to a lease should be initialed and dated by both the landlord and tenant.

Tenants should pay particular attention to the clauses, as they may be disadvantageous to the tenant. Try to delete or modify clauses that benefit only the landlord.

Landlords As with any business transaction, everything is negotiable until the contract is signed. Landlords, don’t lose a potentially good tenant for failing to negotiate.

Understanding The Lease

Clauses

Because of the lack of legislation protecting tenants, it is very important that tenants understand the terminology in the lease, and, consequently, what they are signing. Remember:

  • There is no such thing as a “standard” lease.
  • Just because a lease was written by a landlord, attorney, or Realtor, doesn’t mean it is a good – or even legal – lease.
  • A lease should protect a tenant’s interests as well as the landlord’s.
  • Tenants should attempt to negotiate clauses that are disadvantageous to them.
  • Again, all parties should sign and date any changes made.
Tenants should attempt negotiation on the following clauses, should they exist in the lease to be signed
  • Take As Is: Accepting the premises “as is” – meaning in its present condition – gives a tenant no recourse to have the landlord fix or correct any defects. If there is an oral promise by the landlord to make repairs or do additional cleaning, ask that those promises be put in writing and made a part of the lease.
  • Repairs: Every lease should state who is responsible for repairs. That means making the repairs And paying for the repairs. Repairs include those to appliances, heating, cooling and sewage systems, wiring, plumbing, and repairs to the external part of the building, etc.
  • Damages: If a lease includes a provision stating the landlord is not responsible for injury or damage to property from any cause (even those caused by a building defect or due to landlord negligence), it is recommended that the clause be rewritten to read: “The landlord is responsible for damage or injury caused by his/her negligence”.
  • Rules of Behavior: Rules of behavior that are clear, in writing, and known to the tenant in advance are enforceable. An initialed and dated copy of the Rules should be attached to the lease. Tenants should beware of rules that deal with guests (extra charges, restrictions on the length of time a guest can stay, etc.). Common problems with regard to Rules of Behavior are:
    • Rules that change – “Tenant agrees to comply with all printed regulations now made or subsequently furnished.” Delete “subsequently furnished”.
    • Unclear rules – “…not to use the premises for immoral or questionable purposes…”. Delete “immoral or questionable purposes” and replace with more specific behaviors.
    • Right of Entry – If lease reads, “Landlord reserves the right to enter the premises under reasonable conditions for purposes of official business, tenant should ask that it be changed to reflect (1) a definition of “official business and reasonable conditions”; and (2) add “with 24 hours advance notice to, and consent from the tenants, except in cases of emergency”.
    • Eviction Clauses – Colorado law requires that a landlord follow certain procedures if a tenant does not vacate the premises voluntarily. Tenants should be sure that terminology in the lease does not give up their rights to due process with regard to evictions.
    • Attorney’s Fees – A lease may require that the tenant pay attorney’s fees if the landlord’s forced to use legal means to enforce his/her rights under the lease. Some will require that the tenant pay the attorney whether or not court proceedings are necessary. Negotiation to change the lease so that the losing party pays attorney’s fees and court costs to be determined by the court is recommended.
    • Security Deposit – If the lease contains a clause requiring forfeiture of the entire security deposit for any breach of the agreement, the recommended rewrite is: “The security deposit shall be returned or held in strict adherence to Colorado laws regarding security deposits.”

The landlord has the discretion to prohibit smoking in their property. This includes the use of tobacco, marijuana and vaporless smoking products.

Tenants A tenant may only be legally evicted (except by agreement between the landlord and the tenant) by the landlord going through formal legal eviction proceedings in court. The formal legal name for eviction proceedings is “Forcible Entry and Detainer”.

Landlords In Colorado, if no lease agreement is in effect between a landlord and a tenant – and no rent monies are due – the landlord can evict the tenant without cause. The tenant need not be in violation of any rental agreement. The landlord may give the tenant written notice to “quit” the premises. Notice must correspond with the term of tenancy.

Clauses may be found in some leases sold in stationery stores that may be unenforceable in court. Examples:
  1. Tenant is required to waive the right to the return of a security deposit.
  2. The tenant will not hold a landlord responsible for acts of gross negligence.
  3. Tenant gives consent to eviction for no-payment of rent without the three-day statutory notice.

If either the landlord or the tenant has any question with regard to the enforceability of a term of the lease, legal advice should be sought.

Lease Termination

Voluntary Termination

If the lease is for a specified period of time, it should clearly state and tenant understand:
  • When notice must be given if the lease is not to be renewed. (30 days is recommended even if the contract does not require it; some leases will require more than 30 days notice.)
  • To whom does notice go?
  • Written notice is advisable; all parties should keep a copy.
  • Voluntary termination of a lease is not an eviction; neither party needs to give reason for this type of termination.

If proper notice is not given/received:

  • It should be understood whether – (1) The lease will be automatically renewed for the same amount of time for which it originally was signed, if appropriate notice of termination is not given and occupancy continues, Or (2) The lease converts to a month-to-month lease.
  • Be clear about the consequences of either scenario, particularly with regard to how notice is to be given for the new term, and potential for rent increases.
  • An automatic renewal period cannot exceed one year.

Month-to-month terminations:

  • Colorado law requires that the landlord receive a written notice of at least 10 days prior to the next date that rent is due (unless otherwise stipulated in the lease).
  • On most month-to-month lease contracts, at least one month’s notice is required prior to the end of the term. This means that if move-out notice is given on May 3rd, the rent obligation and move-out date do not end on June 3rd, but June 30th.

Tenants
Landlords

A Summary Of Colorado Landlord/Tenant Law Could Be:

  • The tenant has the right to pay the rent
  • The landlord has the right to collect the rent

Involuntary Termination Eviction, or Involuntary Termination

A legal procedure established by Colorado laws designed to secure the peace.

Eviction need not be for an actual cause. However, if eviction is not for actual cause, the landlord Must give reasonable notice, (which varies depending on the term of the lease). A landlord cannot physically evict a tenant without a court order, which is done through the Sheriff’s Department and with a court decree. It is important that tenants understand all the reasons for which they can be evicted.

Eviction may occur if
  • Rent is not paid.
  • The lease is broken. (Does the lease say no pets, but tenant chose to have a dog? The lease has been broken.)
  • What provisions for termination does the lease have? Can a tenant be evicted as a remedy for failure to comply with Any term of the lease?
Correct technical procedure when evicting for non-payment or lease violations
  • The landlord must serve the tenant with a written, signed notice that rent has not been paid (or lease terms have been violated).
  • The written notice must set forth the alleged lease violation(s), if applicable.
  • The notice must give the tenant the option of (1) paying within 3 days, (or to rectify the situation that caused the notice to be served, e.g. – get rid of the dog), or (2) moving out.
  • The notice must describe the property.
Three-Day Notice
  • Notice must be left with the tenant personally, or with any member of the tenant’s household over the age of 15.
  • If the tenant cannot be reached, posting the notice in a conspicuous place has been allowed to fulfill the notice requirement. (Note: There are instances where this has been found to be insufficient, for example, if the landlord knew the tenant was out of town.)

It is illegal for a landlord to lock a tenant out of their house or apartment. It denies the tenant access to his/her property without due process. If proper procedures are followed, a landlord may decide not to renew a tenant’s lease even if the tenant has lived in the unit for 10 years, always paid the rent on time, and did no damage to the rental property.

If notice is given, and the tenant does not move out:
  • The landlord may file an eviction action with the court. This includes service of a summons and complaint on the tenant.
  • The tenant may file an answer to the complaint on or before the date listed on the complaint. (There is usually little time to file an answer. The tenant should be certain to check carefully for deadlines.)
  • A trial date is set (quickly). The tenant may request, at an additional fee, a jury trial. Jury instructions should be filed in a timely manner.
If a tenant believes eviction is unjustified and intends to fight the eviction, there is legal recourse
  • Consult an attorney! Legal counsel can best help a tenant assess potential risks and rewards of fighting the eviction.
  • If the attorney so recommends, do not move. The landlord must file in Civil Court to have a judge make a decision about possession of the premises.
  • At this point the landlord cannot physically move the tenant out, nor can he/she disconnect the utilities.
  • A judge will hear both sides of the dispute and make judgment.
  • As the judge deems appropriate, the tenant’s costs may include rent for the full time of possession, court costs, attorney fees, and any other charges ordered by the judge.

Tenants Because a tenant’s rights in Colorado are limited, it is important that the above considerations are taken seriously. As with most contract disputes, all parties signing the contract are usually willing to trust one another when they enter the agreement, and they often don’t foresee problems that may arise down the road.

Colorado laws generally favor the landlord. Additionally, the landlord may be very accustomed to dealing with contracts and rental agreements.

Leases can be terminated in four major ways
  1. Expiration of the term
  2. Surrender and acceptance (a mutual agreement, either expressed or implied, between a landlord and tenant that the lease will be terminated without obligation on the part of either)
  3. Breach of conditions of the lease
  4. Eviction of the tenant
Each type of termination has its own set of rules that must be followed.

Landlords

Abandonment

Unless there is an express covenant in the lease, a tenant who is paying rent is (generally) not required to occupy and/or use the rented unit. The tenant does not have to take possession of the premises, may occupy only a part of the premises, or abandon the premises as long as he/she continues to pay the full amount of the rent. Abandonment must be shown by proof of the act of abandonment and proof of the intent to abandon. Proof of intent may be circumstantial and may be based on the conduct of the parties. Procedures to regain possession of the premises are outlined in the Colorado Revised Statutes 38-20-116 et seq., which include a 15-day written notice to the tenant of your intent to dispose of or sell property left on the property and/or published notice.

While a tenant may legally be held liable for the full term of the lease if he or she has abandoned the property, common sense dictates that such a remedy would be difficult to enforce, for such tenants are often long gone and difficult to locate. Even under such circumstances landlords have a duty to mitigate their damages, such as by attempting to find new tenants.

Do not confuse abandonment with a duty to occupy. As stated above, tenants do not have a duty to occupy the premises. If they are paying rent, they have not “abandoned” the premises.

Other Issues

When It's Time To Move Out

Facilitate return of the security deposit

  • Leave the unit as good as you found it – or better!
  • This includes cleaning behind and under appliances, and cleaning the oven well.)
  • Meet any cleaning standards stated in the lease.

Complete a detailed checkout sheet

  • The landlord and all tenants listed on the lease should be involved.
  • The landlord should keep the original; the tenant should always keep a copy.
  • If necessary, take pictures or video the condition of the unit.

Pay all utility bills in full

  • Request proof of payment from the utility company.

Update your Address

  • The landlord needs to be aware of the new forwarding address for the tenant. The security deposit will be sent to last known address.
  • File a change of address with the post office.
  • Change address with publications and bills - credit cards, etc.
  • Notify friends and family of new address.

Renter's Insurance

  • Any insurance a landlord carries on the property typically only covers the actual property itself. It does not cover any of a tenant’s possessions that are kept on the property. Therefore, if there is a fire, theft, or vandalism, the tenant’s property is not covered. It is advisable that tenants secure a renters’ insurance policy with their insurance company. This is usually a very affordable kind of insurance and will protect personal property in case of loss.
  • Liability insurance is also recommended. Liability insurance protects against the tenant being liable for personal injury (e.g. a dog bites someone or a visitor falls down the stairs).
  • Most major and independent insurance agents offer both types of insurance policies.
  • Tenants - Be sure that this expense is a part of your budgeted living expenses.

Tenants Don't be caught off-guard and unprotected by events that happen at your rented residence. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive and can cover losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, or the tenant’s liability should someone be injured on the property. An insurance agent can provide more information on the types of policies available.

Lead Paint

Strict laws govern a landlord’s disclosure of possible lead hazards. If a rental unit was built prior to January 1, 1978, the possibility that lead exists in the paint Must be disclosed. Failure to do so can result in a substantial penalty.

  • The tenant should be aware of what year the property was built or when it was last repainted, particularly if elderly persons or small children will be occupying the property. If it was built before 1978, there may be concern about lead paint being used on the interior of the property.
  • Landlords are required to disclose the possibility of lead via a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure on all units completed prior to January 1, 1978.
  • The Disclosure must be signed and dated by both the landlord and tenant prior to signing the lease.

Other Hazards

  • Look at the spacing between the posts on handrails; too much space can trap children’s heads or allow a toddler to squeeze through and suffer a fall.
  • Be aware of any other hazardous household waste that may be present on the property, such as paint cans, fertilizers, poisons, and so forth. Ask who is responsible for the removal of these items from the property.
  • Particularly for persons with allergies – be aware of areas that may harbor molds or mildews.
  • Take note of overhanging trees and/or branches that have died. A tenant should notify the landlord of any areas of particular concern.

Disputes

  • If landlord and tenant are having a conflict over matters, such as late rent or repairs, consider mediation as an alternative way to solve the problem.
  • Mediation is a nonbinding legal procedure where an independent person listens to both parties and attempts to find some sort of middle ground resolution to the problem. Mediation generally costs less and is quicker than court procedures. (Mediators can be found in the Yellow Pages of the local phone directory.)

The Art of Renting

There is an art to successfully renting a house or apartment. Many problems with roommates and neighbors can be avoided if tenants honor the laws and ordinances that govern all citizens.

What is “reasonable” for one person may not be so to another. Many rules and regulations with regard to rentals are fairly subjective, but enforceable.

Tips For Living In A Neighborhood

  • Know your neighbors. This is important whether you live in an apartment or a house.
  • Introduce yourself. Talk about expectations. Opening the lines of communication from the start may prevent bad situations.
  • Ask the neighbors to let you know first if there are problems or concerns.
  • Take pride in where you live even if you only plan to be there a short time.

City Smart

Know your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

There are several City codes relating to rental housing. Know what it takes to be in compliance with local laws. For detailed information, call the City Code Enforcement Division, or visit the City website.

Highlights of some code-governed areas are:

Parking: There are 3 off-street places that are okay to park a vehicle – on a paved driveway, in a garage, or on another parking slab (if it is properly located). It is Not permissible to park cars on landscaped areas, bare dirt, or gravel (exceptions may apply).

Trash: The City does not provide trash service. Tenants should be notified as to where and how to dispose of trash. Both the tenant and landlord are responsible for the condition of the property. Trash may be placed curbside for one 24-hour period each week, but may not accumulate on the property.

Inoperable vehicles: It is illegal to keep inoperable vehicles on a public street or right-of-way, or on a residential property unless it is completely enclosed within a garage. Inoperable vehicles on the street will be ticketed by the Greeley Police Department. Code Enforcement officers ticket such vehicles parked on the property.

Yards: Developed properties must have healthy landscapes. This includes regular mowing, fertilization, watering, and removal of dead plants. Properties must be kept weed-free. Bare dirt is not an acceptable form of landscape.

Snow removal: Snow must be cleared from sidewalks within 24 hours. Be attentive to “Emergency Snow Routes” along streets, and do not park there during heavy snows. Vehicles may be towed if viewed as a hazard by City snow removal crews.

Tenants When looking at potential units, an important consideration should be how fire-safe the rental property – not just an individual unit – is. A questionnaire with regard to Fire Safety is provided in Section Six of this booklet.

Landlords , be sure that each unit you rent conforms to City of Greeley codes. As a review, a Property Maintenance Standards Guide has been provided for your use – See Section Six. You may also have the City Building Inspection Department inspect your property if you are concerned about any issues.

Be A Savvy Roommate

If a roommate is in a tenant’s future, take time to think about what kind of roommate is wanted. City regulations limit the number of roommates allowed in certain units, so both tenants and landlords should be aware of that when determining whether or not a rental is a good fit.

Other suggestions

  • Tenants - find a good match. Ask specific questions – such as, “Do you smoke?”, “What are your interests?”, “What is your schedule?”, “How do you think we should deal with overnight guests, including boy/girl friends?” A Roommate Questionnaire is available in Section 6 of this booklet to provide more ideas.
  • When a tenant has determined who will be his/her roommate(s), review the lease and have all roommates sign.
  • Create a Roommate Rental Agreement. (A sample is available in Section 6 of this booklet.)
  • Hit conflicts head on. Meet with all roommates together and give everyone the chance to speak.
  • Make a plan and outline a course of action. Everyone should be a part of the solution whether or not they were a part of the problem.
  • Set a date to evaluate the solution, and renegotiate if necessary.

Fair Housing & Renters with Disabilities

Discrimination

Municipal, state, and federal law prohibit discrimination on the basis of

  • Race, creed, color, ancestry and national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Family Status
  • Marital Status
  • Disability

This prohibition includes the transfer, sale, rental, or leasing of all premises except, “Nonprofit, fraternal, educational or social organizations and clubs; and rooms offered for rent in a single or double-family dwelling maintained and occupied in part by the owner or lessor as his/her household.”

Renting For Persons With Disabilities

The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments prohibit discrimination against people who:

  • Have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activity —including, but not limited to, hearing, mobility, and visual impairments; chronic alcoholism (but only if being addressed through a recovery program); mental illness; Hiv, Aids and Aids-Related Complex; and mental retardation;
  • Have a history or record of such a disability; or
  • Are regarded by others as though they have such a disability.

If prospective tenant(s) had, have, or appear to have mental or emotional impairments:

  • Tenants must be evaluated and treated on the basis of financial stability and tenant history, not their mental health.
  • Tenant may be rejected only if there is proof that he/she poses a danger to others (such as repeated threats or assault of other tenants).
  • The prospective tenant must meet the “good tenant” criteria, such as an appropriate rent-to-income ratio.

Tenants Recognize It! Housing discrimination has many forms. Discrimination is not always obvious. More often, it is subtle and hard to detect. If you feel you have been discriminated against, report it. Housing discrimination is illegal!

Landlords should be familiar with any local, state, and/or federal laws that deal with discrimination. Ignorance does not justify discrimination. Avoid problems – know the laws.

Landlords should beware of discriminatory questions and actions:

  • A landlord may not ask a tenant, or a prospective tenant, whether or not they have a disability or illness, nor may the landlord ask to see medical records.
  • No question or action by a landlord may be designed to treat a disabled person any differently than one who is not disabled.
  • A landlord may not ask as to the severity of obvious disabilities (such as a person in a wheelchair).
  • A prospective tenant has the right to see all available units.

The right to live in an accessible place as pertains to accommodations:

  • Landlords must accommodate the needs of disabled tenants, at the landlord’s expense. A disabled tenant may expect the landlord to reasonably adjust rules, procedures, or services in order to receive an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling unit or common space. (Reasonable – A spacious, close-in parking space for a person using a wheelchair. Unreasonable – Installation of an elevator so that a tenant can occupy a third-floor unit.)

The right to live in an accessible place as pertains to modifications:

  • Disabled tenants must be allowed to make reasonable living space or common area adjustments at their own expense if needed for that person to comfortably and safely live in the unit.
  • Tenant must agree to undo modifications when they leave if they make the unit unacceptable to the next tenant.
  • Modifications must have prior approval, including a written description, proof that they will be done in a workmanlike manner, and proof of necessary building permits. Again, the modifications must be reasonable.

If modifications must be restored at lease-end, the landlord may

  • Require payment into an interest-bearing account in an amount equal to the estimated restoration cost.
  • Any interest generated is the property of the tenant.

Proof of modification need must be addressed by the tenant

  • The landlord is entitled to request proof that the accommodation or modification will address the tenant’s need.
  • Some needs may not be obvious, such as removal of doors for a tenant with a fear of closed-in places. The tenant should submit appropriate proof with the request.
  • A letter from the tenant’s physician or therapist attesting to the sufficiency of the request is adequate. No explanation of the disability is required.

Fair Housing Act

In 1968, the Fair Housing Law was enacted through the Civil Rights Act. It is important for tenants to understand their rights under the Fair Housing Act, and for landlords to understand their responsibilities. Some areas of the act were described earlier in this section.

Title Viii of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

Other areas include the following: A landlord would be in violation of the Fair Housing Law for:
  • Refusing to sell or rent to, deal with, or negotiate with any person.
  • Discriminating in terms of conditions for buying or renting.
  • Advertising to persons of a specific race, color, religion, sex national origin, marital status, familial status or disability.
  • Denying that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rent when it is available.
  • Making an inquiry or reference that is discriminatory.
  • “Block-busting” for profit, persuading owners to sell or rent housing by telling them that minority groups are moving into the neighborhood.
  • Denying or making terms or conditions for home loans by commercial lenders or insurance companies.
  • Denying to anyone the use or participation in any real estate services, such as brokers’ organizations, multiple listing service, or other facilities related to the selling or renting of housing.
  • Refusing to permit a disabled person to alter an existing housing unit (at that person’s expense) or refusal to make reasonable accommodation on rules or services, to afford equal opportunity to those with physical limitations.
Additional information, if needed, can be obtained from on-line sites, or from legal counsel. This section offers resources for use by landlords and/or tenants. Included are:

Keys For Success

We have included a glossary, phone numbers, and some sample forms that may be useful to both tenants and landlords.

Commonly Used Terms

Acceleration Clause A provision whereby a landlord can declare future lease installment payments due when one installment payment was not paid on time.
Action A legal proceeding by which one demands or enforces one’s rights in court.
Aforesaid Mentioned previously.
Alterations Repairs or changes made to a premise.
Application Fee A charge to check credit and rental history. An application fee may be binding. (That is, once prospective tenant has applied, they have committed to renting a unit if the application is approved.) Tenants are advised to question whether or not this is the case at time of application to be safe.
Appurtenance Anything attached to the leased premises
Arrears Overdue rent
As Is Accepting the property in the condition seen. Repairs may be needed that will not be done.
Assignment The procedure whereby a tenant relets a premise to another and transfers all rights granted under the original lease.
Automatic Renewal Clause A provision in a written lease that allows the lease to be automatically extended upon expiration of a term of tenancy.
Breach A violation of one or more provisions of a lease.
Cause Of Action Specific situation that may become the basis for a lawsuit
Civil a non-criminal legal matter. Housing disputes are generally handled in small claims or county courts.
Constructive Eviction This occurs when a tenant vacates a premise due to the landlord’s gross interference with his lawful enjoyment of the premise.
Contract An agreement, upon sufficient consideration, to do a particular thing.
Co-Tenants All occupants of an apartment.
Covenant A promise.
Independent Covenant: You must perform your obligation even if the other party does not
Dependent Covenant: You carry out your obligation on the condition that the other party fulfills their obligation.
Damages Usually a sum of money awarded to a landlord or a tenant as compensatory suite for a financial losses caused by the other party.
Default A failure to fulfill a legal obligation, particularly payment of rent.
Demised Premises The place being rented.
Detainer Withholding another’s property against his/her will.
Dispossess Remove a person from land.
Ejectment Eviction.
Enure To take effect (also spelled inure).
Escrow A fund established by a tenant and delivered to a third party, usually the court, to be turned over to the landlord only after (s)he has fulfilled some condition or obligation.
Eviction Dispossession by law. Depriving a person of possession or occupancy. Constructive eviction is not actually removing the tenant, but making it impossible for him/her to remain because of the conditions, e.g. serious deterioration.
Financial Guarantee Evidence of income (usually three times the price of the rent).
Goods and Chattels Personal property.
Holdover Retaining possession of rented real estate after the lease tenure expires, or the landlord demands possession, or because of an alleged breach of the terms of the lease by the tenant.
Indemnify and Hold Harmless To free from any responsibility or liability.
Joint and Several Liability A clause making each tenant individually responsible for all terms under a lease.
Lease A contract by which one conveys the right to possession of real estate to another for a designated length of time and usually for a specified rent.
Lessee A tenant
Lessor A landlord
Let To give temporary use of apartment in return for rent paid.
Liable Legally bound, as to make good any loss or damage that occurs in a transaction.
Liability The state of being legally responsible. Responsibility.
Lien The holding and sale of a tenant’s property for unpaid rent.
Majority Of legal (18) age.
Month-To-Month A tenancy that extends every month, as long as the rent is paid and a notice to quit or a notice to vacate, is not given.
Normal Wear and Tear 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.
Notice An oral or written forewarning of a legal event.
Notice Of Intent To Vacate Notice from tenant to vacate the property, often included in the lease as a requirement
Notice To Quit Notification from landlord to tenant; notifying the tenant to vacate the property.
Parties (To A Lease) Those who agree to abide by the provisions of a lease. Typically, a tenant, any housemates as co-tenants and the landlord.
Party Of The First Part The first name to appear, usually the landlord, but sometimes the tenant.
Petition A legal document presented to the tenant at the commencement of the eviction proceeding stating the grounds for eviction and the remedy that is being sought.
Premise The property conveyed in a lease; a building, an apartment, a dwelling unit, etc.
Property That to which a person has a legal title; real estate that one has the legal right to possess, use and enjoy.
Promise To Repair A landlord’s promise to a tenant that repairs will be made. It is best to get the promise in writing, signed, and dated by all parties to the promise.
Quit To leave or to vacate, as with an apartment.
Relet To lease again to another party.
Remedy A legal means to redress grievances or to correct a wrong.
Rent A sum agreed upon between a landlord and a tenant to be paid at fixed interval by the tenant to the landlord for the right to possession, use, and enjoyment of the premise.
Rent Withholding The procedure whereby a tenant refuses to pay rent to the landlord or places the rent in escrow, in an attempt to force the landlord to fulfill a legal obligation.
Repair and Deduct A type of rent withholding specific to repairs. It is not advised that a tenant do a “repair and deduct” without legal counsel, as they may be evicted for non-payment of rent.
Retaliatory Eviction An attempt by a landlord to evict a tenant in retaliatory measure for the tenant’s complaint of a housing code violation to the appropriate enforcement agency or other legally protected action
Replevin Legal action to recover property that was unlawfully seized.
Security Deposit Any advance or deposit of money, regardless of its denomination, the primary function of which is to secure the performance of a rental agreement for residential premises or any part thereof.
Seven-Day Demand Letter With regard to return of the security deposit – a letter stating that the tenant will sue the landlord for 3 times the amount of the deposit wrongfully and willfully withheld if the deposit is not returned to the tenant within 7 days of receipt of the letter. It must state the address of the rental premises, the dates of occupancy, and the amount of security deposit paid. If a statement of deduction was received but tenant disagrees with the amount of deductions that should also be explained.
Sublet Transferring part of the lease to someone else for less than the original lease term. The original tenant (called the sublessor) is still ultimately responsible for rent and damages to the premises, whether living in the unit or not.
Summary Proceeding (to recover possession) Eviction. “Summary proceeding” because it is a swift and simple procedure for the landlord.
Testatum Act of witnessing a significant fact.
Three-Day Pay or Quit Notice Legal notice from the landlord that a tenant is in breach of the lease. Tenant should try to rectify the problem as receiving this notice does not require you to vacate the premises.
Underlet To let (rent) at a price under value.
Vacate To leave the premises, whether by eviction or voluntarily.
Waiver Relinquishment of a right; agreeing to give up something you are entitled to.
Warranty Guarantee, official authorization.
Warranty Of Habitability Promise that the property is safe and usable as a residence
Witness One who testifies in an action; one who is present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place.

Commonly Used Rental Housing Advertisement Abbreviations

A/C or Air Air conditioning
Abp All bills paid. The utilities (water, electricity, gas, sewage, and garbage collection) are included in the rent. Tenant pays for phone service.
Asap As soon as possible
Br or Bdrm Bedroom
C-Fan Ceiling fan
Eff Efficiency. (A one-room apartment – for eating, sleeping and living. The bathroom is separate.)
Fp Fireplace
4-Plex A rental unit comprised of 2 ground floor or “garden” apartments and 2 second floor units.
Immed Ready for immediate occupancy
Incl Included in the rent
Mo Month
2/2 or 3/2 The first number indicates the number of bedrooms in the unit; the second number indicates the number of bathrooms.
W/D Washing machine and clothes dryer are provided.
Wd Conn Washer and clothes dryer connections are available for tenant’s own machines.

Resources For Tenants and Landlords

  • City Of Greeley City Hall – 1000 10th Street, Greeley
    City information line 350-9777
  • City website www.greeleygov.com
  • Directory of Services and Information
  • Community Development Department 1100 10th Street Greeley, Co 80631
    • Building Inspection Division 350-9830 (For issues of habitability)
      Further information regarding the International Property Maintenance Code may be found at www.Iccsafe.org or www.ecodes.biz
    • Code Enforcement Division 350-9833 (For issues regarding City codes and citations)
    • Planning Division 350-9780 (For zoning and land use issues)
  • Neighborhood Resource Office 336-4167 (For neighborhood issues)
  • Licenses Pet Licensing 350-9722
  • Bicycle Licensing 350-9722
  • Driver’s Licenses 352-5845
  • License Plates 353-3840 X3110
  • Police 911 (emergency) or 350-9605 (non-emergency)
  • Water and Sewer Department 350-9720 (For watering restrictions and billing questions)
  • Union Colony Fire/Rescue Authority (non-emergency) 350-9510
  • Weld Library District Centennial Park Library 506-8600 2227 23rd Avenue,
  • Greeley Farr Library 506-8500 1939 61st Avenue,
  • Greeley Lincoln Park Library 506-8460 919 7th Street,
  • Greeley Michener Library at the University of N. Colorado 351-2671
  • United Way Help Line 211

Landlord Support

  • Weld County Apartment Association 970-395-0025/8238 www.weldcountyapartmentassociation.com
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure www.dora.co.us/real-estate
  • Student Housing
  • (970) 351-2172 Unc Off-Campus Housing Office – www.unco.edu/applications/och/
  • University Center Legal Services Students: Student Representative Council (Src) University Center (970) 351-4281

Community

  • Weld County Legal Aid Office 970-310-8367 Weld County Bar Association 970-392-1469
  • Discrimination State of Colorado Civil Rights Division (303) 894-7855 800-886-7675 toll free 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, Co 80202 www.dolo.state.co.us/civil-rights.htm
  • Low-Cost Housing Greeley/Weld County Housing Authority (970) 346-7660 315 N. 11th Avenue

Utilities

  • Atmos Energy (gas service) 888-286-6700
  • Xcel Energy (electric service) 888-442-1313
  • Comcast 800-934-6489
  • Phone Service See Yellow Pages Listings
  • Satellite Tv See Yellow Pages Listings
  • Water – City of Greeley 350-9811
  • Trash and Recycling: See phone listings under “Garbage and Rubbish Collection”
  • Leap (Low Energy Assistance Program) 352-9477

Transportation

  • Greeley/Evans Transit (Get) 350-9287
  • Greeley Bikeways 350-9357 or greeleybikes.com
  • Smart Trips and Vango 800-332-0950 350-9829
  • Black hills State Lines (Greyhound) 336-4212

Other Resources For Disabled Renters

  • Commission on the Disabled 350-9710 c/o City Human Resources Department
  • Assoc. for Retarded Citizens of Weld County. 353-5219
  • City Clerk 350-9740 (To arrange for sign language-City Council meetings)
  • City of Greeley Building Inspection Dept. 350-9830 (For approval of building modifications)
  • Connections for Independent Living 352-8682 (Call for ramp rental information
  • School Dist.6 – Hearing Impaired Lab School 506-7035
  • Envision 339-5360
  • Greeley Center for Independence 339-2444
  • Handicapped Parking Permits 304-3520
  • Weld County Clerk and Recorder-Motor Vehicle Dept
  • Meals On Wheels of Weld County 353-9738
  • Med Van 330-6340
  • Shamrock Yellow Cab 224-2222
  • Smart rides cab service 347-9791
  • The Bus (City of Greeley Paratransit) 350-9287
  • Triangle Cross Ranch, Inc. 454-2219
  • United Way of Weld County 353-4300
  • For Listing of Services 211

Renter's Insurance Guide

As a renter, you have probably invested more in personal property than you realize; fire, theft, and lawsuits could cause you financial problems. Renter’s insurance may provide protection and give you peace of mind at the same time. Renter’s insurance is a valuable asset to students who are over 21 and renting off-campus housing facilities.

Students under age 21 who maintain legal residence with their parents may be covered by their family’s homeowner’s policy. In this case, a student would not need insurance of his/her own, but it would be wise to check with your family’s agent about this first.

You will want to weigh the costs and benefits of renter’s insurance for your particular situation. The importance of comparison shopping cannot be underestimated. Rates and coverage will vary widely from company to company, so consider as many different agencies as you can. Pay attention to the following:

  1. Type of coverage
  2. Coverage for damage to your personal property from fire, smoke, vandalism, wind, hail, and water.
  3. Coverage for theft of personal property on and off the premises.
  4. Coverage for personal liability for lawsuits if, for example, your dog bites a neighbor or someone slips on an icy sidewalk for which you were responsible.
  5. Amount of coverage-the amount deductible is the sum you will be financially responsible for before a claim is covered by the insurance company.
  6. Living situation-the cost of the policy will depend on your living situation and is based on such facts as the number of apartments in your building, whether you live along or with roommates, the construction of the building and whether you live in or out of the city limits.
  7. Some students may be covered by their parents’ homeowner policy, so check with your family’s insurance agent.
Excerpted from the Unc Off-Campus Housing Guide 1996-97.

Property Maintenance Standards Guide

Occupancy

  • Only one dwelling unit is permitted in all properties zoned as single-family residential. (R-L)
  • No basement apartments or sleeping rooms are allowed in garages or sheds in single-family residential. (R-L)
  • All sleeping rooms are required to have an exit door or window of minimum size.
  • Bedrooms must be of the proper size.

Mechanical and Facilities

  • Water heating facilities must be adequate.
  • Dwellings must have proper heating facilities.
  • All mechanical equipment must be maintained in safe working condition.
  • Each dwelling unit must have a safe electrical system.
  • Each habitable room must have two receptacle outlets.
  • Smoke detectors must be located on every story of a residence, in every bedroom, & outside the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.
  • Each dwelling unit must have its own bathtub or shower, bathroom sink, toilet, & kitchen sink, which must be maintained in safe & sanitary working condition.
  • A kitchen sink does not substitute for the required bathroom sink.
  • Plumbing fixtures must be properly connected to water & waste water systems & be free from cross connections & leaks.
  • Extension cords may not be used as permanent wiring.

Exterior/ Interior

  • Exterior surfaces, including doors, windows, porches, fences, etc., must be maintained in good condition & protected from decay with paint or other treatment.
  • Window glass & screens must be in good repair.
  • There must be no evidence of insect or rodent infestation.
  • The roof must not leak.

If a violation of any of the above is suspected, call the City Building Inspection Division.

Fire Safety Checklist

Landlords & tenants alike should be conscious of what constitutes a fire danger. The time to do a thorough check is not after a tragedy has occurred. The following checklist can serve as a starting place on what to watch for.

Are there:

  1. A safe, continuous & unobstructed path of travel provided from any point in a building to the outside?
  2. Egress doors that are easily opened from the inside without the use of keys, special knowledge, or effort?
  3. Emergency escape & rescue openings operational from the inside without the use of keys or tools?
  4. Well-marked exits?
  5. A minimum of 2 ways to escape from basement bedrooms?
  6. Evidence that flammable material is properly stored or disposed of?
  7. Bars, grills, grates, or similar devices releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, too, or force greater than that required for normal operation of the escape & rescue opening.
  8. The required fire resistance rating for walls, fire stops, shaft enclosures, partitions & floors?
  9. Residential unit smoke detectors which are equipped with working batteries or are properly wired & are maintained in an operable condition?
  10. A working fire extinguisher easily accessible from the kitchen area?

Parents & roommates – be sure to discuss expectations in case of a fire. Set a designated meeting area well away from the building & review fire-safety procedures as often as is necessary.

Property Inspection Checklist

Property Address
Date of Inspection

The City of Greeley has adopted and is enforcing the 1991 Uniform Housing Code. The purpose of this Code is to provide minimum standards to safeguard the life, limb, health, property and public welfare by regulation and controlling the use and occupancy, location, and maintenance of all residential buildings and structures within the City of Greeley, Noting a “yes” response to any of the items below indicate violations of the Housing Code or other municipal codes which regulate land use and property conditions. Check with the City of Greeley Building Inspection Department at 1100 10th Street, Suite 102, 970-350-9830, for more information.

House or Building Exterior
Yes No Condition
Sagging of the roof, missing or damaged shingles, or holes. Check the eaves and soffits for missing boards, damage, or not.
Cracks or holes in the building foundation.
Walls with rotted wood, broken, loose or missing siding; cracks or holes in stucco; cracks in mortar; or cracked, blistered, or peeling paint. Chimney should not lean or have missing bricks.
Gutters that sag, leak, have sections missing or disconnected, or are rusty and need paint.
Windows that have broken panes screens torn or missing (if the windows was designed to be opened.) Windows that do not fit within the frame well, have rotted frames, or have cracked blistered or peeling paint on frame and trim.
Doors that do not fit within the frame well, have rotted wood, cracked, blistered or peeling paint or do not open and close properly.
Porches with missing boards or railings; that have deteriorated columns or are otherwise not supported properly; that sag excessively; have cracked, blistered, or peeling paint; or torn screens.
Stairs to porches that sag; have missing steps or sections; loose handrails or missing handrails. (If you have to step up at least four times to reach the porch, you need a handrail.) Stairs with cracked, blistered, or peeling paint.
Garages, sheds, and other detached buildings that lean or have any of the conditions listed above.
Fences and retaining walls that lean, have parts missing, are loose or unstable, need paint, or have cracks that need patching.
Sidewalks with tripping hazards or driveways that do not prevent tracking of mud onto the street or are not paved.
House or Building Interior
Yes No Condition
Ceilings and walls are in good condition with no holes, cracks, crumbling plaster, or drywall. A stained area may indicate a leaking roof or plumbing pipes.
Floors are in good condition. (Floor tile or carpet is not a code requirement.) However, all floor surfaces are free of holes, cracks, splinters, tears or warps that could be a trip hazard.
Windows are located in all habitable areas to provide ventilation and natural light. The windows are in good condition with no cracks or breaks in the glass and are openable. Screens are installed on all openable windows.
Painted surfaces are smooth with no chipping or peeling. (Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint that can be hazardous to children.)
Electricity is required in every habitable area. Each area has at least one electrical outlet and one permanent light fixture or two electrical outlets. The wiring should not be frayed, broken, or have exposed electrical corrections. All outlets and switches have cover plates.
Smoke detectors are installed on each level of the unit and immediately outside the bedroom areas. If there are bedrooms in the basement and the windows do not egress requirements, smoke detector is installed in these bedrooms also.
Appliances include a refrigerator and a stove and oven. (A microwave is acceptable. These items do not have to be provided by the property owner.)
Heating system must be adequate to provide 70 degrees Fahrenheit three feet above the floor in all habitable spaces.
Plumbing system include a kitchen sink, a bathroom sink, a toilet, and bathtub or shower. All plumbing drains into a proper sewer or septic tank.
Exits are free of obstructions and lead directly to the exterior or into a public corridor that leads to the outside.
Stairways are in good condition and shall have guardrails and handrails and be adequately illuminated.
Grounds
Yes No Condition
Trash, debris, garbage and/or uncut weeds. Inoperable vehicles, two or more unlicensed vehicles.
Vehicles parked in the yard instead of on a driveway surfaced with an all-weather material such as concrete or asphalt.
Areas of the yard cluttered with items such as old lumber, scrap metal, aluminum cans, appliances car parts, tires, etc.
Evidence of rats, snakes, or other vermin on the property. (Are trash bags and dog food being stored anywhere other than in a trash can with a lid or similar rat-proof container?)
Dead trees or dead limbs in trees.
Pools of stagnant water in the yard, in barrels, etc.
Animal feces, yard waste, or similarly unclean areas which are the source of odor.
Upholstered furniture not intended for outdoor use or other discarded or abandoned household items.

Move-in / Move-out Inspection Agreement

Rental Property Address:
Manager/Owner:
Address:
Phone:
Tenant Name:
Unit No:
Date & Time Inspected:
Check in Tenant Signature:
Mgr./Owner Signature:

Be sure to note the status and cleanliness of each feature.

Status: (D) Dirty (X) Damaged/Missing (R) Repair Needed (N/A) Not Applicable (C) Clean (-) OK
Area Move In Move Out Cost
Entrance
Door/Screens
Locks/keys/Mailbox
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Closet
Other (window coverings, etc.)
Hall
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Smoke Detectors
Living Room
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows & Screens
Windows Converings
Closet (if applicable)
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Thermostat
Other (fireplace, shelves, etc.)
Dining Room
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows & Screens
Windows Converings
Closet (if applicable)
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Thermostat
Other (Built-in cabinet, shelves, etc.)
Kitchen
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows & Screens
Windows Converings
Closet (if applicable)
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Cupboards/Cabinets
Range/Hood/Vent
Drip Pans/Rings
Oven/Racks/Broiler Pan
Refrigerator/Shelves/Crisper
Sink
Faucet
Dishwasher
Garbage Disposal
Sprayer
Other (ice trays, countertops)
Bedroom #1
Ceiling
Walls
Ceiling
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows/Screens
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Window Coverings
Closet Door/Clothes Rack
Other (if applicable)
Bedroom #2
Ceiling
Walls
Ceiling
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows/Screens
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Window Coverings
Closet Door/Clothes Rack
Other (if applicable)
Bedroom #3
Ceiling
Walls
Ceiling
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows/Screens
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Window Coverings
Closet Door/Clothes Rack
Other (if applicable)
Bathroom
Ceiling
Walls
Floors/Carpet
Light Switches/Fixtures
Windows/Screens
Door/Lock
Heating Outlets/Vents
Window Coverings
Cabinets/Mirror
Towel Racks/Accessories
Toilet Base/Tank
Sink/Vanity
Faucet
Tub/Shower
Shower Curtain/Hooks
Ceramic Tile/Surround
Other
Utility Area
Walls
Ceiling
Windows/Screens
Doors
Electric Outlets
Heating Outlets/Vents
Floors/Carpet
Other (if applicable)
Exterior
Lighting
Porch/Handrails
Doors
Painting/Siding
Roof
Eaves
Windows
Stairs (if applicable)
Yard/Landscape
Trash/Sanitation
Accessory Structures
Sidewalks/Driveway
Fence
Other (if applicable)
Additional Comments
Check-Out Date:
Tenant Signature
Date:
Manager/Owner Signature
Date:
By signing this form in the designated areas, the landlord and tenant are in agreement as to the condition of the unit at the time the tenant arrives and departs.

Wear and Tear vs Damage Guide

This has been developed to help landlords and tenants distinguish between reasonable wear and tear and damages caused by a resident’s negligence, abuse, or accident. - Courtesy Greeley Housing Authority

Wear And TearDamage
Peeling or cracked paint. Drawings
Worn enamel in old bathtubs Chipped and broken enamel in bathtub.
Worn or cracked linoleum in place where appliance had been. Damaged tile floor due to resident negligence.
Carpet worn thin by people walking on it. Holes in carpet from cigarette burns or carpet damaged by rust and mildew stains from resident’s plant containers.
Door that sticks in humidity. Cracked wood door that doesn’t close properly because resident hammered in the metal striker that received the latch.
Small piece of wall plaster chipped. Large chunk of plaster ripped out of wall.
Fire damage due to faulty wiring. Fire damage caused by resident leaving lit cigarette in ashtray near drapes.
Sink drainage slow because of old pipe system. Toilet backed up because resident flushed foreign object down it.
Floors need new coat of varnish. Wood floors gouged when moving furniture.
Corner or a piece of wallpaper coming loose because glue has aged. Wallpaper missing where resident tore it off the wall.
Sliding closet doors stick. Sliding closet doors off track because track is bent.
Paint faded on kitchen walls. Walls burned in kitchen from burner turned too high when pot on stove.
Shower rod somewhat rusted. Shower rod missing.
Grouting in bathroom tile loose. Tiles missing or cracked.
Dirty or faded window shade. Torn window shade.
Old light fixture. Missing fixtures; hole in ceiling where fixture had been removed.

Additional forms and resources can be found at Colorado Housing Connects