What can I do about a landlord who is not handling problems in my apartment that have been caused by mold?

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What can I do about a landlord who is not handling problems in my apartment that have been caused by mold?

I have major health concerns about me, my husband and my dog. I have had an mold inspector come out to verify that there is mold growing in our apartment and the apartment complex is refusing to do what needs to be done. I have documented everything, taken pictures, and even brought in professionals. They dismissed all of my concerns and documentation.

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In a case such as this you can proceed under 2 separate legal theories. The first is "constructive eviction". If there is a mold condition that is causing you health issues to the point that you must move out, you may have a legal claim for any costs you incur (such a hotel; extra travel time; storing belongings; etc.). You can also get a court order allowing you to move back in after the situation has been corrected.  Additionally, there is the potential for you to recover your attorney's fees if any.  You may also be entitled to other remedies, depending upon specific state law. Having had the presence of mold in your unit verified by an inspector adds to the strength of your claim, plus any other photos and other documentation that you may have. 

The second theory as to do with a breach of the "warranty of habitability". This is a warranty that is implied in every residential lease which provides that a tenant must be given a sanitary and safe premises in which to live. For such a breach you can potentially terminate your lease, as well as withhold rent until the repair is made, or make the repair yourself and the deduct the cost from your rent. The presence of mold would qualify as such a breach. Again proof of your claim will be necessary.

However, before doing anything further you need to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters. At the very least you need to speak with a tenants right advocacy group. If you attempt any of the above remedies you must be certain of your legal rights under your applicable state law.  


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