Owning investment property can be fraught with horrors for both the tenant and the owner if habitability of the premises is less than state requirements. Not following and knowing the state laws regarding implied warranty of habitability can get the owner in hot water legally. Worse yet, names like slum lord can become a pseudonym. However this can be avoided if proper communications and maintenance of the property is done.
Every state has specific statutes that regulate the requirements for what is considered habitability and they change often. Before we go any further, let’s define the Implied Warranty of Habitability Law.
Legalmatch.com defines it as:
An implied warranty of habitability is a warranty implied by law in all residential leases that the premises are fit and habitable for human habitation and that the premises will remain fit and habitable throughout the duration of the lease.
Colorado recently updated its habitability law in 2019.
Changes in the law include:
- Allows the tenant to email the written notice to the Landlord of the problem that the tenant thinks makes the rental property unfit.
- Gives the landlord specific time frames within which to respond to the tenant’s notice.
The landlord now only has:
- 24 hours to respond if the condition is materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant’s life, health or safety.
- 96 hours where the premises is only uninhabitable or otherwise unfit for human habitation.
The new law also adds two specific conditions that make a residential property uninhabitable:
- Lack of functioning appliances that conform to the applicable law and are maintained in good working order.
- Mold that is associated with dampness, or there is any other condition causing the premises to be damp, which if not fixed, would materially interfere with the health or safety of the tenant.
If the premises become legally uninhabitable based on the above criteria, the tenant may have several options:
- Terminate lease
- Injunctive relief (repairs required by court)
- Defense to nonpayment of rent
- Damages claim (rent reduction and other expenses)
For more information on the Residential Tenants Health And Safety Act Click Here.
Blue Mountain Real Estate and Property Management is here to help with understanding habitability law and to make the investment and rental process more pleasant and less expensive. Contact Blue Mountain Real Estate & Property Management today.