Parker, CO asked in Landlord - Tenant for Colorado

Q: Can I take an apartment to court

I rent an apartment and behind my bed on the outside there are tons of meters for electric and its loud in my room I've asked to fix it but they didnt do anything. There are pipes in the wall for ac and not well Insulated so the floor is very cold resulting in turning up the heater. They did nothing. Would it be wise to take them to court?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ashley Dean Powell
Ashley Dean Powell
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Without knowing more and based solely on the information in your question, I suspect that you do not have a strong case against the landlord/property owner/property management company. If you feel strongly about this, you probably need to sit down with a landlord-tenant attorney or plaintiff's/personal injury attorney with all relevant facts and documents (your lease) to determine whether your case has merit.

Here is some more general information about landlord's duty to make repairs you may find helpful: In terms of both timing and importance, the first question should probably be, “Is landlord’s failure to fix (repair, maintain) ‘X’ harming the tenant’s health or safety?” If the failure to maintain the premises (the place you rent; where you live) is hurting your health or safety, then landlord’s failure may create a breach of her warranty of habitability.

Under Colorado Revised Statute Section 38-12-503, every residential lease includes a warranty of habitability. Section 38-12-505 includes an elaborate list of the types of items that might violate landlord’s warranty of habitability if they are not properly maintained by landlord. For example, if your house or apartment does not adequately protect you from the weather outside (it isn’t waterproof, it isn’t windproof), landlord may be in breach of this warranty. Likewise, if you don’t have adequate plumbing, natural gas, running water (including hot water), heat, or electricity, these may be indications of a house that is uninhabitable. Something to keep in mind is that the particular item that landlord has failed to maintain (even if it is on the specific list in Section 38-12-505) must ALSO create “a condition that is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant’s life, health, or safety.”

If you are a tenant and you believe that a situation exists at your rented property that violates the warranty of habitability by presenting a danger to your health or safety, then the statute (Section 38-12-503(2)(c)) requires you to provide your landlord with a written notice of that condition. Following the written notice, your landlord has a “reasonable time” to cure the problem.

After you have provided your landlord with the written notice required by Colorado law and your landlord fails to fix the problem in what you believe is a reasonable time, then you should review Section 38-12-507 for your potential remedies as a tenant. Your remedies include terminating the lease, having a court force your landlord to make the repairs (known as injunctive relief), withholding rent, paying for the repairs yourself and charging them against your rent owed, and potentially collecting your costs and attorney fees. There are additional nuances to some of these remedies, and you should consider consulting an attorney before you proceed with unilaterally enforcing these remedies.

Not all maintenance issues are also warranty of habitability issues. Sometimes, the “broken” thing does not actually threaten your health or safety. For example, tenants frequently ask about a landlord’s obligation to fix a broken appliance such as a refrigerator, oven, or washing machine. While it’s disappointing to have these items break, and while they cause an inconvenience for a tenant, many items such as this don't threaten health or safety and are not landlord's responsibility to fix.

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