Lesson 1: What is Colorado's Warranty of Habitability law?
In Colorado, when a landlord rents a unit, they ensure that it is safe and healthy to live in. They create a “Warranty of Habitability,” or a promise that the home is safe to live in. While the home is rented, landlords are responsible for keeping it safe and healthy. If a home becomes unsafe to live in, renters can request that their landlords fix the issue quickly and their homes are made safe again.
Examples of habitability issues that make a home unsafe include:
- Plumbing issues
- Electrical issues
- Water or sewage issues
- Heating issues
- Broken windows or doors
- Serious mold issues
- Serious health code violations
When renting a home from a landlord, renters also have obligations. Renters are required to keep the rental unit safe and clean. The law requires renters to:
- Follow building rules
- Follow health code regulations like throwing garbage away
- Safely use utilities like electrical, plumbing, and heating
- Safely use facilities like elevators
- Not disturb other renters
- Not break or damage the property
- Notify the landlord if there is a health or safety issue
Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability law helps renters make sure their homes are repaired and made safe again.
Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability law protects renters in almost all rental homes. However, if the renter lives in any of the following types of rental homes, they might NOT be protected by the Warranty of Habitability law:
- A home that you own or are under contract to purchase or sell
- Mobile home that you own
- Condominium or co-op that you own
- A medical facility like a hospital, nursing home, counseling or rehabilitation center
- School or college dormitory
- Fraternity or sorority building
- A temporary stay in a hotel or motel for less than 30 days
- A residence used primarily for agricultural or farming purposes
- If you are an employee or independent contractor and your right to live in your unit depends on you performing your job
- A hunting cabin, yurt, hut, or similar structure used for recreation and does not receive water, heat, and sewer service from a public entity
If a renter lives in a type of home listed above, they can still get protection under other laws. Contact the Poverty Law Project (or your own lawyer) to learn more about how the law applies to your situation.