Many states have specific provisions allowing for early termination of a residential lease agreement by victims of domestic violence or abuse, and Colorado is one of those states. C.R.S. § 38-12-402 protects both the landlord and tenant in this situation.

Protection Of The Tenant

The tenant is asking to be released from the agreement with no further obligation other than the payment of one month’s rent. The one month’s rent payment is due within 90 days of vacating the premises.

The tenant who is a victim of domestic violence or abuse can terminate the lease agreement due to fear of imminent danger for themself or their children. The tenant must provide written notification to the landlord that he or she is the victim of domestic violence or abuse, and must also provide a copy of the police report or a valid protection order as evidence, dated within the prior 60 days. The tenant is asking to be released from the agreement with no further obligation other than the payment of one month’s rent. The one month’s rent payment is due within 90 days of vacating the premises. As long as the landlord has experienced and documented damages equal to at least one month's rent as a result of the tenant's early termination of the agreement he is not obligated to refund the security deposit until the one month’s rent final payment is made.

The tenant is protected in other ways. If the tenant calls for the police or any other emergency personnel in response to a domestic violence or abuse incident the landlord cannot terminate the agreement. A lease cannot contain language specifying such a reason for termination and the lease cannot ask the tenant to waive their right in this regard.

Protection of the landlord

To compensate for the unexpected early termination of his rental agreement “damages” of one month’s rent is required of the departing tenant.

The landlord’s protection is for his vacant rental, which he wasn’t expecting. To compensate for the unexpected early termination of his rental agreement “damages” of one month’s rent is required of the departing tenant. The tenant may still owe the landlord for any damages beyond normal wear and tear that exceed the amount of the security deposit, and the landlord can still follow the appropriate legal procedure available to them for recouping additional funds owed.