If you’re a property manager, own a rental home, or have tenants then you really do need to take time out to understand Colorado’s mold remediation laws and potential causes for litigation.
While there are no federal regulations regarding mold or in the state of Colorado that does not absolve you from any responsibility. As it stands there are around half a dozen states with laws relating specifically to mold. However, all but one state (blame Arkansas) have a law requiring landlords to provide a home that is habitable.
A Habitable Home
In many court cases across the country, tenants are taking their landlords to court over mold in their home because it is making their space uninhabitable. Don’t think that by putting a sneaky clause in the lease paperwork that you can wriggle out of responsibility for mold, this is often thrown out of court as it does not override the requirement to provide your tenants with a home that is safe for their family to reside in.
One thing that can absolve you of responsibility is if the mold growth is the result of the tenant’s activities in the home; or if the mold growth started and they did not notify you appropriately. This could include a tenant not allowing you access to the property to make repairs, incorrectly using appliances that lead to high levels of humidity or even leaving the windows open while it’s raining outside.
When a tenant does notify you that there is mold in the property you should act immediately to protect yourself from liability. You should arrange to visit the property to review the mold and then call a mold remediation company who can advise you on how best to tackle the issue. Not only will they provide you with advice on how best to deal with the mold that has already developed but they will advise you on how best to prevent it from coming back. This is an invaluable service to a property owner who is looking to keep their property in good condition.
There is a provision in Colorado law which allows tenants to withhold rental payment due to uninhabitable surroundings. Additionally, mold can cause serious physical harm and this is one of the major reasons why tenants are winning in court, they have been exposed to hazards and their health has been damaged as a result of it.
There’s No Need to Take Risks
If you allow mold to grow out of control, it can cost you significantly more than it would have to deal with the problem as soon as it was raised. Mold can destroy furniture and clothing, but it can also compromise your home’s structural integrity. It can be a serious cost trying to come back from a serious mold problem. It’s wiser for property managers, landlords, and owners to tackle issues as they come up and put steps in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
That’s without even getting into the litigation aspect of things when you consider those costs… tenants have received multi-million-dollar settlements.
Now that you know a little more about the law, give us a call if you have any problems with mold in your home or business.