Q: Are rental late fees limited in Colorado?
A: Yes. As of October 1, 2021, late fees in residential Colorado leases are limited to the greater of: (i) $50, or (ii) 5% of the past due rent payment. The changes discussed in this article were enacted in Senate Bill SB21-173: Rights in Residential Lease Agreements.
Additionally, SB21-173 prohibits residential landlords and property managers in Colorado from:
- Charging a late fee unless the rent payment is late by 7 or more calendar days;
- Charging a late fee unless the late fee is disclosed in the lease agreement;
- Evicting tenants for failure to pay late fees;
- Imposing late fees for any portion of rent that a rent subsidy provider is responsible for paying;
- Imposing late fees more than once for each late payment;
- Requiring tenants to pay interest on late fees;
- Recouping late fees from rent payments; or
- Charging a late fee unless notice of the late fee is provided to the tenant within 180 days of the date on which the rent payment was due.
Landlords or property managers who do not comply with these limitations and restrictions may be liable to tenants for monetary damages. Violations that are not cured within 7 days are subject to higher monetary penalties and tenants may pursue recovery of their costs and attorneys’ fees if they are the prevailing party in a legal action.
Lease provisions that do not comply with these new requirements are void and unenforceable. If your existing lease agreement contains an excessive late fee provision, you may not be able to recover any late fees unless the lease is amended to comply with the new law. Landlords and property managers whose existing lease provisions do not adhere to these requirements should consider amending non-compliant terms.
Our firm’s residential lease agreement is updated to remain current with legislative changes when they are enacted. However, if you purchased your lease prior to Senate Bill SB21-173 being adopted, then it should be updated. Contact me for questions or assistance with updating your residential lease agreement.