Can a landlord refuse to rent to a prospective tenant?

A landlord may refuse to rent to a prospective tenant because of dissatisfaction with the tenant's credit history or financial situation, or for no reason at all. In Colorado a landlord may not refuse to rent because of the tenant's:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Examples of housing discrimination include denying an interested person the opportunity to see, rent or buy an apartment or home, yet making it available to others and denying a minority or disabled tenant the same privileges as other tenants for such things as a parking spaces, needed repairs and services or the use of the apartment pool, dining room or clubhouse.


There are some exceptions to the general law prohibiting discrimination against members of protected classes. For example, discrimination in the rental of a room in a single family home occupied by the owner is acceptable. Preference may be given by a religious organization to persons of the same religious denomination. Preference may be given by a private club to its own members if the lodgings are incidental to the club's main purpose and the lodging is not owned or operated for a commercial purpose. Also exempt is discrimination against a person who has been convicted of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance. 

Discrimination in order to comply with zoning laws concerning marital status is also acceptable. The owner of a single family home is exempt from anti-discrimination laws in the rental of the single family home, provided that the owner does not own or have an interest in more than three single family homes, that the home is rented without the use of a estate agent or other person in the business of selling or renting property, and no illegal advertising is used.

Show All Answers

1. What is a lease?
2. Does the lease have to be in writing?
3. What should the lease cover?
4. What can be done about violence or drugs on the premises?
5. How should the lease be signed?
6. What happens to the lease if the apartment building or house is sold to a new owner?
7. Do roommates have obligations under the lease?
8. What happens to the lease if the tenant remains after the lease term ends - holdover tenant?
9. Are all clauses in a lease legal?
10. Can a landlord refuse to rent to a prospective tenant?