If you want to rent or sell a property in Colorado it is recommended to get familiar with some specific rights and obligations due to mold remediation that protects tenants and home buyers.
Colorado law (HB 19-170) includes mold and dampness control as a warrant of habitability requirement. According to this rule, the time given to the landlords to respond to tenant complaints due to mold is shortened compared to the previous rules.
There are two things you can do. If you suspect a mold problem look for a source of moisture, if you have visible mold clean it up.
- The law applies to rental properties deemed “unfit for human habitation” or “in a condition that materially interferes with the tenant’s life, health, or safety”;
- The landlord must respond within 24 hours to the tenant’s complaint about mold;
- If mold is associated with dampness that would interfere with life, health, or safety if not remedied, the landlord has 96 hours to mitigate the risk by either containing or stopping the water source and installing an air filtration device.
Among other requirements, the law also obliges the landlord with the following:
- To provide the tenant with a “comparable dwelling unit” when requested;
- To allow the tenant to deduct money from the rent under certain conditions;
- Repeals various provisions in favor of landlords;
- Mandatory presence of functioning appliances as a requirement for habitability;
- Last but not least, providing a path for injunctive relief to the tenant.
Legal possibilities for tenants due to mold
The tenants in Colorado have two legal possibilities due to mold that is recognized by the court. Some tenants chose to pursue the following when mold outbreak in their apartment or rental home.
If tenants can prove that the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable they have the right to stop rent payments until the problem is resolved.
Regardless of what has been written in the rental agreement landlords in Colorado are bound by the “implied warranty of habitability” to provide tenants with apartments in livable condition.
For more information about rent withholding, you can read below in this article.
Repair and deduct
This strategy involves tenants taking care of mold cleanup on their own and then subtracting the cost from their rent.
Landlord responsibilities in Colorado due to mold
A landlord is responsible for providing a habitable environment and conditions that fit for human beings to live.
If you as a tenant have the reason to believe, and you can prove that, you have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in the apartment where you live, you have the opportunity to recover the damage from your landlord in court.
If a judge or jury comes to the conclusion that the landlord negligently created a mold problem or allowed one to continue at a property, the landlord could be on the hook for any harm.
Mold disclosure requirements in Colorado
Colorado State doesn’t have any statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants or buyers.
Although there is no presence of affirmative disclosure requirements if you decide to sell or rent your property it is recommended to answer any questions about mold, plumbing, and ventilation system issues in your property or building to the potential tenant. That’s what a good landlord does.
Rent withholding law in Colorado State
As I promised above we will address the rent withholding law a little more.
Any repairing or remedying that is qualified as a violation of the warranty of habitability allows the tenant to deduct from one or more rent payments the cost of the repairing. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-507(1)(e).)
Section 38-12-503 from Colorado Revised Statute defines four situations as a breach of warranty of habitability:
- The presence of hazardous mold;
- Lack of weather protection;
- Lack of running water;
- Insufficient heating.
Rent withholding is not possible if the tenant or member of his household has caused the mold growth and harmful conditions.
If the tenant has the intention and legal basis for rent withholding, must provide landlords with at least ten days’ written or electronic notice. The notice must meet certain requirements.
If the landlord breaches the warranty of habitability, Colorado law allows the tenant to terminate the lease or rental agreement without penalty.