Mold is a serious problem and any landlord should take it seriously. It thrives in areas of your home that are prone to warmth and camp and it can quickly grow out of control if left unchecked.
The typical hot spots for mold growth include attics and basements, and any other area of your home which may be poorly ventilated (or prone to humidity – like the bathroom). It can happen to any home and at any time, whether it’s because of a plumbing issue, a big spill, or even a sprinkler head that is spraying aimlessly.
For landlords, mold can lead to costly repairs and cleanups, and potentially a lawsuit as it can have serious health effects.
Landlord Mold Liability In Colorado
There are no State or Federal laws in place that cover what a landlord’s responsibilities are when dealing with mold. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you find yourself in this situation. Your tenants can still seek damages against you if they have experienced health issues or their property has been damaged due to high levels of mold.
If the courts find in their favor you could be liable for their damages.
There are two avenues open to tenants. Rent withholding allows tenants to withhold their rent payments if mold has made their home uninhabitable. While there not be specific mold laws, Coloradan landlords must maintain a habitable home. The other strategy is repair and deduct, this allows the tenants to pay for the mold remediation from their own pocket and then deduct the cost of it from their rent payments.
Coloradan Mold Disclosure Requirements
There are no regulations that require landlords in Colorado to disclose the existence of mold in a rental property. However, prospective tenants may ask about ventilation issues, plumbing, and humidity.
Additionally, it could come back to haunt you as mentioned above tenants do have rights. While there may not be laws or regulations that specifically address mold, tenants can expect to live in a habitable home.
Mold At Fault Of The Tenant
In the event that a tenant is moving out and you have been left with a mold problem that you believe is their fault and was preventable, you can deduct the cost of remediation from their security deposit. This is as per Colorado law, but if you do this you must provide your departing tenant with a written explanation that details the cost of damages. This should be provided within a month of the termination of the lease. If the total is less than the full deposit then the rest of the deposit should be returned to the tenant and provide the written explanation of deductions. This is as per Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-103.
The best course of action is to prevent mold problems from occurring in the first place, so, ensure there is proper ventilation throughout the home and that tenants understand that they should notify you if there are any appearances of mold. Additionally, carry out routine inspections as allowed by law to ensure that there is no unreported mold growth and if you do uncover mold have it dealt with by professionals immediately. The presence of mold can make your home unsalable.