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Landlord Tenant Law – Warranty of Habitability

Colorado tenants have a right to live in a property that meets certain habitability standards, and in every rental agreement, the landlord is deemed to assure that the residence is fit for human life. These assurances are implied in every residential lease in the state. In other words, Colorado law guarantees tenants the right to basic amenities, such as working appliances and properly locking doors and windows. The guarantee of these minimum standards is referred to as the “warranty of habitability.”

Colorado law requires that upon notice, a landlord has 24 hours to employ reasonable efforts to remedy the following condition:

  1. Any condition that materially interferes with the tenant’s life, health, or safety.

Colorado law also requires that upon notice, a landlord has 96 hours to employ reasonable efforts to remedy the following conditions:

  1. Mold that is associated with dampness, or a condition causing the property to be damp, which, if not remedied, would materially interfere with the health or safety of the tenant (this excludes the presence of mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of their proper function and intended use);

 

  1. Malfunctioning appliances;

 

  1. Waterproofing and weather protection failure on the roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors;

 

  1. Malfunctioning plumbing or gas facilities;

 

  1. No running water and/or reasonable amount of hot water at all times;

 

  1. No connection to a sewage disposal system approved by law;

 

  1. No heating;

 

  1. No electrical lighting that is maintained in good working order;

 

  1. Common areas that are not kept in a reasonably clean and sanitary condition (including rodents) such that the condition does not materially and substantially limit the tenants’ use of their unit;

 

  1. Rodent infestations;

 

  1. No adequate garbage receptacles;

 

  1. Floors, stairs, and railings not maintained in good working condition;

 

  1. Defective locks on exterior doors; and

 

  1. Violations of building, housing, and health codes that materially interfere with the life, health, or safety of the tenant.

To trigger the landlord deadline, the tenant must give proper notification.  Despite which deadline applies, after proper notice, the landlord must respond to the tenant within 24 hours, indicating their intentions for remedying the condition, including an estimate of when the remediation will commence and be completed.

However, if any of the complained of conditions listed above were due to misconduct from the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or the tenant’s guest, then there is no breach of the warranty of habitability. Colorado law makes an exception for victims of domestic violence. It is not misconduct by a victim of domestic violence if the condition was a result of the violence committed against the victim.

If the notice concerns a condition that “materially interferes with the tenant’s life, health, or safety,” at the tenant’s request, the landlord must provide a comparable unit or hotel room at no expense or cost to the tenant while the landlord repairs the property.

Colorado law makes any agreement that waives or modifies the warranty of habitability void. In other words, even if a landlord had the tenant sign a lease that waives or modifies the warranty of habitability, such provision is void and unenforceable by the landlord.

The landlord-tenant attorneys at Burnham Law represent both tenants and landlords in warranty of habitability cases. At Burnham Law, we understand the urgency, timelines, and liability that comes with any warranty of habitability case.

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Ashlee
Hoffmann

Senior Associate - Civil Litigation

Boulder

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