Boulder Landlord-Tenant Attorney | Lease Agreements
Residential Leases in Colorado
Simply put, a lease is a contract pertaining to the use of a specific piece of real estate for a period of time. Leases are governed both by the law of contracts generally as well as the law pertaining to the relationship between landlords and tenants. A lease can be set for a fixed period or terminable at will.
As with contracts generally, the central idea is that the parties to a lease can, for the most part, bargain and negotiate the terms of their relationship. In practice, however, it is widely understood that residential leases are almost always entered into with no prior bargaining and little understanding on behalf of the tenant. Particularly in tight rental markets, as we have seen in and around Boulder and Denver for years, landlords generally wield far more bargaining power and in turn dictate all of the terms of the lease agreement to prospective tenants in a take it or leave it fashion.
The Colorado State Assembly, while not historically known for its concern for tenants, has passed a number of statutes to address the disparity in bargaining power between landlords and tenants in the residential real estate setting. Among the most important are Colorado’s warranty of habitability, the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, C.R.S. §§ 13-40-101 through -123, and the Colorado Security Deposits Act, C.R.S. §§ 38-12-101 through -104. Along with statutory protections, Colorado case law also offers some protection to unwary tenants by way of doctrines that relate generally to contract interpretation and enforcement, and others that apply primarily to lease agreements.
Even though there are a number of protections for tenants, those rights are counterbalanced by the rights of landlords to protect and financially benefit from their private property. This balancing of rights between landlords and tenants makes for what often turns out to be a complicated legal landscape that must be navigated in order to manage relationships between parties (landlords and tenants) that are very often entered into cavalierly and with little understanding of the rights and responsibilities related to each side of the transaction. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant it is just as important to have an excellent landlord-tenant attorney from the start as it is to have an excellent landlord-tenant attorney after a situation has become too difficult to handle on your own.
Commercial Leases in Colorado
Commercial leases are governed by much of the same case law and many of the same statutes as residential leases. Unlike residential lease negotiations, however, commercial lease negotiations are not understood by the courts or the Colorado General Assembly to be marked by a large disparity in bargaining power between landlords and tenants. The legal landscape for commercial real estate leases is also different from residential leases because different concerns are at play. For instance, when restaurant owners open for business in a leased property they may use the appliances left to them by the owner of the building. Alternatively, they may have to buy some or all of the necessary appliances. At the termination of the lease the restaurant owner will want to remove the fixtures he or she had installed. The boundaries as to which appliances may be removed and which may not be removed are elucidated (although not very specifically) in Colorado case law.
Although commercial leases are often viewed by prospective landlords and tenants as simply collections of boilerplate provisions devoid of important differences from any other commercial leases, the provisions contained in nearly every lease and the facts surrounding each particular landlord-tenant relationship are vitally important when determining the rights and responsibilities of the parties. It is essential to have a knowledgeable, experienced Colorado real estate attorney on your side to help you understand and make good decisions regarding your commercial lease agreement. Contact Newell Law today to set up an appointment to discuss your commercial or residential lease.
If you are involved in a landlord-tenant dispute, landlord-tenant litigation, or need advice regarding a residential or commercial lease and are looking for a Landlord-Tenant Attorney in Boulder with a results oriented, cost-effective approach tailored to your matter’s specific needs, contact Newell Law. We have the experience and knowledge to achieve the best results possible for your case.