Breaking a Lease in Colorado - Know the Laws

Breaking a Lease in Colorado - Know the Laws

A tenant may want to break their lease agreement for a number of different reasons, such as starting an active military career or moving in with a significant other.

Depending on the reason for breaking the lease, a tenant may or may not have a legal justification under Colorado law to do so. As a landlord, it’s important to know the justified and the unjustified reasons for ending an agreement in the state of Colorado. This way, landlords will know what course of action to take if they find themselves in such a scenario in the future.

Learning that your tenant wants to break their lease can be stressful, especially if, as a landlord, you don’t know how to navigate this process. Thankfully, Alliance Property Management can help you. Keep reading to learn more about breaking a lease in the state of Colorado.

Lease Agreements in Colorado 

It’s important for landlords to draft a clear and detailed lease agreement. This rental agreement will help the landlord to protect their rental unit, as it informs the tenant of their rights and responsibilities.

Your lease should include the following points:

  • The penalties for the tenant to unjustifiably break their lease: As previously mentioned, reasons for ending a lease can either be legally justified or not. As a landlord, make sure to clearly state the reasons in each case.

  • The minimum amount of notice the tenant must serve prior to breaking their lease and ending the tenancy: Colorado landlord-tenant law requires that tenants terminating their lease must provide the landlord with proper notice. In this state, the amount of notice to give for a yearly lease must be specified in the lease, and 21 days for a monthly lease.


  • The landlord’s responsibility to re-rent the unit: Landlords must make reasonable efforts to re-rent their units after a renter has broken their lease. Even if the reason is legally unjustified, a landlord cannot charge the tenant for the total remaining rent under the lease.

  • If you’re able to re-rent the unit to a replacement tenant quickly, the tenant would only be liable for the period the unit was vacant. This is known as the landlord’s duty to “mitigate damages.” 

  • The tenant’s right to sublet: Tenants in Colorado are able to sublet their unit as long as it is not prohibited in the lease agreement. Make sure to state whether a tenant can sublet or not to avoid any misunderstandings.

Unjustified Reasons for Breaking a Lease in Colorado

Breaking a lease for any of the following reasons can have tangible consequences for tenants, especially if the renter does so without a court order or approval from the landlord. 

The following are unjustified reasons for breaking a lease in Colorado:

  • Moving in with a significant other.

  • Unwilling to pay rent. 

  • Relocating to a new town for a job or for school. 

  • Separating or divorcing their significant other. 

  • Downgrading or upgrading.

Justified Reasons for Breaking a Lease in Colorado

A renter may file for early lease termination. The following reasons allow tenants to legally break their lease without penalty:

1. Active Military Duty

Members who get deployed or receive permanent change of station have a right to break their lease under the the federal law of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). 

The SCRA requires that a tenant does a number of things prior to moving out. The tenant must first provide the landlord with proof that they entered active duty after signing the lease. 

The tenant must then prove that they intend to stay on active duty for more than 90 days. Lastly, the tenant must provide the landlord with a notice and a copy of the deployment orders. 

Once the tenant has done these things, their agreement will automatically end 30 days after the next rent cycle has begun. 

2. Uninhabitable Property

Tenants are allowed to break their lease if the condition of the rental is deemed uninhabitable according to local and state housing codes. If you do not provide habitable housing, the court may conclude that your tenant has been “constructively evicted,” and they will no longer be responsible for paying rent.

This is why conducting regular rental inspections is crucial for your success. When you regularly inspect your rental, you’ll be able to catch issues before they become serious and costly.

Besides regularly inspecting your rental, you’ll also want to respond to maintenance issues as promptly as possible once notified by your tenant. In Colorado, landlords are required to reply to a tenant’s written request for maintenance within 24 hours. 

3. Landlord Harassment 

As a landlord, it’s important that you treat tenants fairly and respectfully, as your tenant can be constructively evicted if they are not treated as such. If the landlord repeatedly violates the tenant's rights, the tenant may break their lease. 


One way to ensure this is to give your tenant plenty of notice before entering the property. While Colorado doesn’t specify the minimum entry notice, always provide your tenant with a notice of at least 24 hours prior to entering. 

Also, do not change their locks, shut off their utilities, or remove any of their belongings from the unit. If you are trying to evict your tenant, follow the proper eviction processes according to Colorado law.

4. Other Reasons 

A tenant in Colorado may also be able to justifiably break their lease for any of the following reasons:

  • If they are a domestic violence victim. 

  • If the landlord fails to repair a gas-related hazard within 71 hours after proper notification. 

  • If the landlord violates the lease.

  • If the landlord fails to make important disclosures. 

  • If the tenant has an age or health-related issue. 


As a landlord, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the justified and unjustified reasons for breaking a lease in Colorado. This guide can help get you on the right track.

If you have a question or need expert help in managing your property, Alliance Property Management can help you maximize your rental’s potential. Get in touch to learn more!

Disclaimer: This blog isn’t intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may become obsolete at the time you read it. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company.


Free Rental Analysis

Reach out to us any time to discuss your rental investment management needs

Contact Us for a Quote

Expertise Logo