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Remember all language in the lease should apply (as long as it is not a provision against public policy), so read your lease first for language regarding pest control.
Generally, landlords do not have to make repairs unless there is:
(1) Defective and hazardous gas equipment
(2) Binding agreement by the landlord to repair
(3) Violation of the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the premises
(4) Repairs for common areas (e.g. walkways)
(5) Dangerous/hidden defects
C.R.S. 38-12-505 requires the landlord to have a duty to provide a habitable premise.
- Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;
The covenant of quiet enjoyment protects a tenant’s right to the peaceable use and enjoyment of the premises. Thus, if a landlord fails to make repairs/maintenance and the conditions are so serious that they force the tenant from the premises, the landlord may be
liable for a “constructive eviction.” Other examples of things that may substantially interfere with a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment include rodent infestations and broken plumbing. In such cases, the landlord may be liable for damages and the tenant may be able to terminate the lease.
Landlords can be held liable for dangerous/hidden defects/conditions of which the landlord knew or should have known. A landlord cannot hide or fail to reveal a dangerous condition that they have knowledge of or that the tenant will not discover. Additionally, a landlord may be held liable if they have agreed to make repairs, but their
failure to do so has resulted in injury.
The Warranty of Habitability Act Colorado adopted a Warranty of
Habitability Act in 2008 that encourages both Landlords and Tenants to maintain the quality of rental housing in Colorado. The Act holds both landlords and tenants accountable. The Act establishes legal protections for residential tenants if their home become uninhabitable as defined by the law. The Act also requires Tenants to use and maintain a rental property in a reasonably clean, sanitary, and safe manner, and holds Tenants responsible for intentionally
damaging a Landlord’s property.
Your legal remedies under the Act are only triggered after all of the
Act’s requirements have been met. Your rental must substantially lack
critical elements. For example, your rental must have deficient roofing, walls, windows, doors, floors, stairways, railings, locks, plumbing or gas facilities, water, heating, or electrical systems. Additionally, any deficiency in your rented unit must make your premises materially dangerous or hazardous to your life, health, or safety. You must provide your landlord with written notice of
any deficiency. If your rental is materially dangerous or hazardous,
and your landlord has failed to remedy such condition within a reasonable time after receiving written notice from you, only then
can you exercise the remedies provided for in the Act. Remedies
include injunction, lease termination, and rent abatement. Do not withhold rent on your own without 1) permission from your landlord or 2) an order from the court.
Here is the language of the statute:
38-12-507. Breach of warranty of habitability - tenant's remedies
(1) If there is a breach of the warranty of habitability as set forth in section 38-12-503 (2), the following provisions shall apply:
(a) Upon no less than ten and no more than thirty days written notice to the landlord specifying the condition alleged to breach the warranty of habitability and giving the landlord five business days from the receipt of the written notice to remedy the breach, a tenant may terminate the rental agreement by surrendering possession of the dwelling unit. If the breach is remediable by repairs, the payment of damages, or otherwise and the landlord adequately remedies the breach within five business days of receipt of the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach.
(b) A tenant may obtain injunctive relief for breach of the warranty of habitability in any court of competent jurisdiction. In any proceeding for injunctive relief, the court shall determine actual damages for a breach of the warranty at the time the court orders the injunctive relief. A landlord shall not be subject to any court order for injunctive relief if the landlord tenders the actual damages to the court within two business days of the order. Upon application by the tenant, the court shall immediately release to the tenant the damages paid by the landlord. If the tenant vacates the leased premises, the landlord shall not be permitted to rent the premises again until such time as the unit would be in compliance with the warranty of habitability set forth in section 38-12-503 (1).
(c) In an action for possession based upon nonpayment of rent in which the tenant asserts a defense to possession based upon the landlord's alleged breach of the warranty of habitability, upon the filing of the tenant's answer the court shall order the tenant to pay into the registry of the court all or part of the rent accrued after due consideration of expenses already incurred by the tenant based upon the landlord's breach of the warranty of habitability.
(d) Whether asserted as a claim or counterclaim, a tenant may recover damages directly arising from a breach of the warranty of habitability, which may include, but are not limited to, any reduction in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit, in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) If a rental agreement contains a provision for either party in an action related to the rental agreement to obtain attorney fees and costs, then the prevailing party in any action brought under this part 5 shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs.
You may want go to small claims court if you have a claim against a landlord to recover money you are owed, such as a security deposit. Small claims court is a good avenue to take for simple claims and the court can only award up to $7,500. For claims that are worth more, you can either waive your right to the amount over the $7,500 that
you would be entitled to or you can bring the claim in another court. You do not need a lawyer to go to small claims court and there will be no jury trial. You will be given the chance to tell your side of the story to the judge/magistrate. Only certain types of claims
can be brought in small claims court: those for recovering money, property, performing contracts, enforcing restrictive covenants, etc. The statute of limitations (when the time to file your claim expires) will vary depending on your claim.
Most leases require 30 days notice before you move, but some require as much as 60 days notice. To avoid problems, make sure you know the notice you are required to give when you are ready to move out. To avoid misunderstandings and other problems with notices to the
landlord, you should always date any notice to the landlord, state the
date you intend to move, make a copy of the notice for yourself, and
personally deliver the notice, or send by certified mail, if possible.
Basically, if you haven't already, you need to give the landlord written notice of the infestation. By statute he has 10-30 days to repair the condition. Keep a copy for your records. If that has already happened then as you said, the landlord would have a reasonable time to fix the problem. Five weeks is not reasonable. Unfortunately Colorado does not have a repair and deduct statute that would allow you to repair the problem on your own and charge the landlord at another time. At this point you can either give the landlord notice terminate your lease because of uninhabitable conditions under C.R.S. 38-12-505. If you do give notice to terminate your lease and the landlord fixes the problem within 5 days and remedies the problem (eliminates the rodents and pays for any damages) then the lease will not terminate.
All forms and instructions can be found on the Colorado Judicial Branch website at:
See link for further info on tenant rights in Colorado:
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