How to Ace Your Rental License Inspection in the Colorado Market

Getting your rental property licensed in Colorado can seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be! By understanding the inspection requirements and proactively preparing, you can ace your rental license inspection Colorado on the first try. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to pass with flying colors.

An Overview of Rental Licensing in Colorado

Let’s start with a quick primer on rental licensing in CO. Similar to many states, Colorado law requires residential rental properties to be registered and licensed at the local level before they can legally operate.

This applies to:

  • Single family homes
  • Apartments
  • Condos
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Fourplexes

Licensing ensures rental properties meet basic health, safety and maintenance standards. Requirements can vary slightly between counties and cities, but the inspection checklist remains fairly consistent. Common items inspected include:

  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • General interior/exterior condition
  • Basic sanitation and cleanliness

Once licensed, annual or biennial renewals are needed to keep the license active. Renewals also require re-inspection.

Now that you understand the purpose behind rental licensing, let’s go over how to prepare for and pass the all-important initial inspection.

Read Up on Exact Requirements for Your Area

The first step is getting familiar with your local rental License inspection Colorado  ordinance. You can usually find this online through your city or county website. If not, get in touch with the clerk’s office to obtain a copy.

Pay close attention to the specific checklist of requirements in the ordinance. While major items like smoke alarms are standardized statewide, some areas add extra stipulations.

For example, the City of Fort Collins requires carbon monoxide detectors on every level with bedrooms. The City of Greeley requires installation of overflow drains for water heaters. Little requirements like this can trip up unprepared owners.

Create a custom checklist so you know every single item your specific rental property needs to pass inspection.

Conduct Your Own Thorough Pre-Inspection

Don’t rely solely on the local requirements list! Do your own comprehensive walk through, keeping an eye out for any potential issues the inspector may flag.

Bring along your custom checklist and mark items as you verify them. Go room by room, opening closets and cabinets, checking behind furniture, and looking over the exterior as well.

Some key areas and components to inspect closely include:


  • Outlets, switches and fixtures should be securely fastened with no exposed wires. Verify ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) function properly.
  • Breaker box should have labeled breakers with no empty spots for additional circuits.
  • Check for cover plate screws, loose plugs/switches, or overloaded outlets.
  • Ensure outdoor outlets are GFCI and watertight.


  • Faucets and supply lines should have no leaks or drips. Hot water should reach temperature within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Flush toilets to check for cracks, leaks, and proper operation.
  • Drain pipes under sinks should have no standing water or evidence of clogs.
  • Water heaters require an overflow pipe, pressure relief valve, and discharge tube directing water to floor or drain.


  • Inspect condenser/heat pump exterior unit for damage or debris. Interior filters should be clean.
  • Test heating and A/C to confirm proper airflow and temperature.
  • Look for leaks/drips around the refrigerant lineset. Listen for unusual noises from blower fan.

Smoke and CO Detectors:

  • Verify the correct number on each level, including bedrooms. Push test buttons to confirm alarms sound.
  • Check expiration dates and replace any detectors over 10 years old.
  • Install new batteries in battery-powered units.

General Condition:

  • Walls/ceilings should have no major cracks or holes. Surfaces expected to be painted.
  • Doors, cabinets, and hardware should be in working order with no missing pieces. Locks should latch securely.
  • Windows must be intact, open/close properly, with no broken panes or damaged screens.
  • Floors should have no tripping hazards. Carpets vacuumed and cleaned.
  • Appliances must power on and operate correctly without issues.
  • Outdoor areas are tidy and well maintained. No excessive leaves/debris buildup.

Completing your own comprehensive inspection allows you to find and remedy issues before the official visit. This prevents playing catch up at the last minute!

Make Any Necessary Repairs and Improvements

Once your pre-inspection is finished, you’ll likely have a list of items needing repair or replacement. Don’t delay – tackle these proactively so your property is move-in ready.

Refer frequently to your local requirements checklist as you make fixes and upgrades. Only install specific models of alarms, outlets, detectors, etc. required in your area.

Focus first on any safety concerns like loose railings, exposed wiring, or broken window panes. Next address plumbing and electrical issues, HVAC repairs, painting needs and general cleaning/decluttering.

While not required, making even small extra improvements can leave a positive impression on inspectors:

  • Install new rain caps and screens on exterior vent pipes.
  • Caulk around tubs/showers and sinks to prevent mildew.
  • Replace worn outlet covers and switch plates.
  • Patch and touch up paint on walls and baseboards.
  • Add motion sensor exterior lights.
  • Update old cabinet hardware with new knobs and pulls.

Don’t cut corners here – a little extra diligence goes a long way towards passing on the first try.

Prepare Documents and Paperwork

Beyond the physical property, certain paperwork needs to be in order as well. Have the following ready and easily accessible:

  • Local rental license application: completed and signed. Double check all fields are filled out properly.
  • Business license: register your rental business with the city/county. Some areas may require this before obtaining a rental license.
  • Lead-based paint disclosure forms: required if home was built prior to 1978. Keep copies handy.
  • Proof of ownership: deed, title policy, or bill of sale for reference if requested.
  • Inspection and service records: provide any recent invoices showing upgrades like new hot water heater, furnace servicing, roof repairs etc.

Thorough documentation shows you operate a professional rental business and stay on top of maintenance. While not always needed, it can help supplement a smooth inspection.

Be Present and Communicative During Inspection

You’ll definitely want to attend the inspection in person rather than letting an unfamiliar inspector roam solo. Your presence shows you actively manage the property and care about licensing.

Greet inspectors courteously and maintain a cooperative, helpful attitude throughout. Answer any questions thoroughly and volunteer information upfront showing your due diligence.

However, don’t be overly chatty or defensive about flaws. Inspectors have a job to do – your role is providing access and clarity. Let them document issues so you can move forward with solutions.

If inspectors point out problems, thank them for catching items you may have overlooked. Demonstrate you’re willing to make prompt repairs and work collaboratively to achieve compliance.

A bit of friendliness paired with accountability goes far!

Make Prompt Repairs if Re-Inspection is Required

Hopefully your preparation results in passing with no major issues! But there’s a chance inspectors still identify areas needing remediation. Don’t fret – simply focus on making the specified repairs quickly and thoroughly.

Some tips for efficient re-inspection repairs:

  • Ask for clarity on exact locations of failed items like smoke detectors, outlets, or fixtures.
  • Take photos during inspection for reference on problem areas.
  • Obtain inspector contact information and reach out with any questions on the feedback.
  • If possible, correct minor issues immediately while inspectors are on-site.
  • For larger repairs, hire qualified professionals to ensure work passes re-test.
  • Keep the same cooperative attitude if re-inspection is needed – view it as an opportunity to improve your property.

Follow up promptly on all required repairs, and book the re-inspection as soon as realistically possible. The sooner you can get full licensed status, the sooner you can operate your compliant rental business!

Maintain Your Licensed Status Through Renewals

Getting that initial rental license is a major accomplishment, but the work doesn’t stop there! Follow your local guidelines to keep your license current and active.

Most areas require renewals yearly or every other year. Renewals involve:

  • Paying the renewal licensing fee.
  • Completing any forms or updates to your information.
  • Passing another comprehensive inspection like the initial one.

To breeze through renewals, treat inspections as an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. Stay diligent with maintenance, repairs, documentation and communication from year to year.

Consider hiring a qualified inspection company annually to identify issues early. This prevents major surprises or repairs when renewal time comes.

By keeping your property continuously updated to code and well documented, you’ll be prepared for seamless license renewals for years to come.


Navigating rental licensing in Colorado has its challenges, but doesn’t need to be a headache. Focus on understanding your specific requirements, conducting thorough self-inspections, making proactive repairs, and maintaining open communication throughout.

With diligence and attention to detail, you can pass your inspection confidently. A professional licensed property provides security for tenants and establishes your rental business on a solid foundation!

Hopefully this comprehensive guide provides the steps and tools you need to ace your rental property inspection. Let us know if any questions pop up along the way – we’re happy to help Colorado rental owners and managers successfully comply with local regulations. Here’s to smooth licensing and happy renting ahead!