DENVER (KDVR) — The Problem Solvers are following up on an apartment complex in east Denver that’s left some of its tenants without hot water or heat since May 7.

The Problem Solvers continue to hear complaints from more and more renters who live in the Ivy Crossing apartments off Quebec Street near Yale. The Problem Solvers looked into options for these renters.

“They just care about rent, that’s it,” renter Shaynie Escobar said. “It’s not fair I still have to pay rent in full, you know, because it’s like you’re literally taking away one of the main utilities that we need in order to live here. Like it’s not fair and it’s impossible to get ahold of the office.”

“I sneak into the building next door to the house … to shower over there because they have hot water, Escobar said. 

Renters’ rights for hot water, heat

Escobar is not the only one. The Problem Solvers have already spoken to three different tenants and received even more emails. With tenant complaints piling up, the Problem Solvers spoke to Jacob Eppler, a renters rights attorney in Colorado.

“One of the laws in Colorado to protect tenants is called the implied warranty of habitability,” Eppler said.  

Both that law and Denver’s Municipal Code require a landlord to provide heat and hot water, among other things, to make the space livable.

1. Put everything in writing

“For a tenant to exercise the power behind the series of laws, they need to give the landlord written notice of some type of letter, an email or even a text something in writing that states, ‘Hey, I don’t have hot water or I don’t have heat,’ and then the landlord needs to fix the issue,” Eppler said.

“They have a reasonable amount of time they can fix it. However, if they don’t fix it in five business days, then the tenant has the ability to end that lease without penalty in 10 to 30 days,” he said.

2. Keep paying your rent

Eppler said to document everything and make complaints to your landlord in writing, but he still recommends you pay rent.

“It’s really just not giving ammunition to the other side to use against you. The law considers [withholding rent] and it’s allowed, I just think it’s risky,” Eppler said.

3. When to go to court

It’s important to note that renters can also go to the court seeking injunctive relief, meaning a judge could force the landlord to do repairs. To do that, you don’t need a lawyer.     

There are also resources like the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Colorado Legal Services that can help walk people through these legal processes and do pro bono work as well.  

Tap here for more on tenants’ rights and resources from Denver.

Ivy Crossing apartments management responds

The building management company spokesperson sent a statement that reads:

We have worked diligently to repair all issues over the last few weeks. The process requires working with the City and Xcel, and is largely dependent on their schedules. Fortunately, we passed inspection on the boiler today. Hot water will be restored once Xcel energy is onsite, which is expected in the next 24 hours. We will be providing concessions to the impacted residents for the ongoing inconvenience.

Ivy Crossing apartments management spokesperson

Then the spokesperson clarified to FOX31/Channel 2 that the “concession” would be “some sort of compensation on rent.”

Xcel Energy also responded to the issue. In a statement, the company said:

When were made aware of this issue we began working closely with the property management and Arapahoe County to address it. For the safety of our customers we had to wait for the property management to obtain the correct inspections. When the inspection by Arapahoe County has been completed, Xcel Energy will be able to supply natural gas to this apartment complex.”

Xcel Energy