DENVER — The FOX31 Problem Solvers launched an investigation after dozens of tenants at four separate Advenir locations complained of issues ranging from mice to mold, and the Problem Solvers want you to know that renters have rights.
“We noticed droppings everywhere and then they started scurrying into our kitchen,” Rachel Brown, tenant of the Advenir Lowry location, said.
Several tenants said they are stuck living in a place that is hazardous to their health.
“There’s mildew and leak stains here,” Matt Hire, tenant at the Advenir Stapleton said.
At one point some tenants said they were stuck with no running water for two days, and were offered no alternative housing.
“You can’t flush it, I mean, it doesn’t work,” Anthony Polana, tenant at Advenir at Cherry Creek North, said.
The laws for landlords and tenants just got stronger in the most recent legislative session. Landlords are obligated to provide safe and sanitary housing.
“No tenant should be in a situation where their home is uninhabitable,” Teo Nicolais, Colorado Apartment Association Board volunteer, said.
Nicolais is also a landlord. He says when an issue arises, first put it in writing and submit it to the landlord. If the request goes ignored you can withhold rent.
“If an appliance is broken or the locks are broken on the doors tenants are able to withhold rent for that but it’s important to note that in many cases tenants have to deposit that rent with the county,” Nicolais said.
That means you cannot keep the rent money in your bank account: it has to stay with the county court until the issue is resolved.
Nicolais said renters could also break their lease, but many times renters don’t have enough money to go elsewhere. He said financial help is available through the Colorado Apartment Association Board hotline, Colorado Housing Connects, at 844-926-6632.
“There are certain emergency funds where someone has a problem right now and it’s a small grant to get them to a safe place,” Nicolais said.
Bottom line: communication is essential. Nicolais says tenants need to understand rodent infestations may take longer to resolve. But both parties need to hold up their end of the lease agreement.
The city can also take action in these situations. The health department said they recently ordered a landlord to fix a rat infestation on the property. When that person didn’t comply they started fining him $900 dollars a day.
For more information on renter’s rights click here.