The Aurora Housing Authority is committed to providing clear and comprehensive information on the rights and responsibilities of both the Resident (sometimes referred to as a “tenant” or “renter”) and the Landlord (and/or owner, and/or agent of the owner or Landlord).
The most important foundation of renter’s rights is to read your Lease carefully and understand that you can be held to it once it is signed. There is no right to back out of a Lease once signed, and no “three day right of rescission.”
A Lease defines the rules in effect while you as a Resident use the Landlord’s property. Rules include the amount of rent, length of time the rental is scheduled to last, the amount of the security deposit, property maintenance responsibilities, and many other details. Other rules may be required through law and programs related to affordability or other policies of the property.
1) You may terminate a Lease early where sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence occurred. There are requirements for this, and you can read more at the Colorado Revised Statute: § 38-12-402(2)(b). Additionally, your Landlord cannot terminate your lease against your will solely because you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking, or because you have requested emergency assistance (such as from a peace officer) in response to a situation involving one of these forms of abuse. Also, you cannot give up your right to call for emergency assistance. The information you provide to your Landlord will be confidential; they will not tell anyone unless you consent or they are required to do so by law.
Prompt response to request repairs
2) Upon written request to the rental property owner or manager, you have a right to a prompt response to requests for repairs. You have the right to have repairs performed in a timely manner, upon request, and to have a quality maintenance program run by management.
3) You may terminate the Lease under some circumstances for violations of habitability, after you’ve given proper notice and the Landlord has failed to cure.
Notice of entry
4) You have the right to be given reasonable notice, in writing, of any non-emergency inspection, necessary repairs, or other entry into your apartment. “Reasonable notice” generally means at least 24 hours, but there is no law that says how long it has to be. A Landlord has the right to enter a rental unit without notice in emergencies. (An example of an emergency might be an apartment flooding after the hot water heater breaks.) If you refuse to allow entry, you assume all liability for damages and repair to the rental unit, as well as any consequential damage to other units.
Demand for compliance
5) You have the right to receive a written Demand For Compliance Or Possession before the Landlord files a suit to evict for nonpayment of rent. You then have the option of paying the past due rent, or moving out within the time listed. If you move out, you may still owe the remainder of the rent in addition to Lease break fees. The Landlord can serve this demand by posting a notice in a conspicuous place on the premises or by leaving a copy with a Resident in the household over the age of 18.
6) The deadline for returning a security deposit is one month, unless the Lease provides for a longer period, not to exceed 60 days. If the Landlord does not return the security deposit or does not send an itemized list of deductions within the required time period, or if the tenant disagrees with the deductions made by the Landlord, the tenant may initiate an action to recover the disputed funds. There is no maximum amount a Landlord can charge for the security deposit. When deducting from a security deposit, unpaid rent, damages, unpaid utility bills, repair bills, and cleaning bills can be legally deducted.
7) For Low Income Housing Tax Credit Tenants, any fees charged to the Resident by Landlord must be reasonable and in line with those charged by similar properties.
8) If you have been called into military service before the end of a Lease term, you do not have to pay for the remainder of rent due for the entire Lease term, provided you are following the Federal Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. §534).
9) If the property is foreclosed upon, and you have a written Lease, you will be allowed to remain in the unit through the term unless the new owner intends to live in that unit. Otherwise you must be given a 90-day written notice to vacate, with some small caveats.
10) You have the right to live in decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is free from environmental hazards such as lead-based paint hazards.
Organize as residents
11) You have the right to organize as Residents without obstruction, harassment, or retaliation from property owners or management. You have legal rights against retaliation from a Landlord, but you will bear the burden of proof.