What is a security deposit?

A security deposit is a sum of money that is paid by the tenant to the landlord to assure that the tenant performs the lease. A security deposit may be called a "damage deposit, a cleaning deposit or a pet deposit." Regardless of its name, if the money is given to assure performance by the tenant, the Colorado laws discussed in this section apply. A deposit that is given as a prepayment of rent in order to hold a unit is not a security deposit and is therefore not subject to the security deposit laws. The security deposit laws apply only to residential units, not to commercial premises.

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1. What is a security deposit?
2. For what reasons may the landlord keep the security deposit?
3. How much is the security deposit?
4. Must the landlord hold the security deposit in a special account?
5. When is the tenant entitled to a return of the security deposit?
6. How can the tenant prove the condition of the unit?
7. What steps should the landlord take to keep or return the security deposit?
8. What if the landlord fails to return the deposit?
9. Can the tenant waive the security deposit laws?
10. How much time does a tenant have to bring an action for failure to return deposit?
11. What happens to the security deposit when the landlord transfers ownership of the unit?