There has been a lot of talk this year among the property management and homeowner community about a new update to Colorado law entitled: House Bill 1170 – Residential Tenants Health and Safety Act.
This bill drastically changes how tenants can hold their landlords accountable for providing a safe and habitable home. Many people believe that this bill is great for tenants and will force bad landlords to clean up their act, but others believe that this puts unnecessary strain on good landlords and gives bad tenants too much power that could be abused.
Without taking a stance on either side, we are going to dig into the bill’s rules and see where home inspection companies like ours can be part of the solution.
Breaking Down House Bill 1170: Residential Tenants Health And Safety Act
Bill 1170 aims to increase tenant protections by mandating that every rental agreement or “lease” include a warranty stating that the property will be habitable. At face value, this seems fair. Typically this mutually benefits both sides of the transaction as tenants obviously want to live in a habitable and clean environment, and landlords usually want to provide a nice place so the tenant will want to stay.
However, the bill addresses circumstances when this balance does not work out as planned. If a tenant deems a property uninhabitable, meaning some part of the property is endangering their life, health, or safety, then the landlord breaches the contract mentioned above if the rules are not followed.
Do you need a mold and moisture inspection or air sample testing performed on your rental property? We’ve got you covered. Learn more here.
The tenant will need to submit a written or electronic notice of the condition, grant access to the landlord, and the landlord must act on/begin remediation upon notice within 24-96 hours depending on the issue.
The bill provides a list and defines what constitutes a safety, health, or life-threatening issue. This can be found under section 4. The most recent changes have added two items to that list including broken appliances, and the presence of mold.
One very clear issue that is highlighted in these requirements is the presence of mold or dampness within a property. The Bill has added many requirements to the remediation and clean up of mold which will be explained below.
House Bill 1170 Regarding Mold Within A Property
If any type of water leak occurs within a property, there is a chance mold will grow. Because of this, it is important to act on these issues promptly before a leak spreads and further mold growth occurs. Learn more about mold growth here.
If mold or dampness is found within a property and a tenant provides a written or electronic notice with permission to enter the property, a landlord must take fairly immediate action and must respond to the notice within 24 hours. The response to the tenant must indicate the proposed solution to the problem.
This requires stopping the water source, mitigating the mold, and installing air filtration systems as needed. In addition, the landlord must take the following actions within the next 96 hours.
- Ensure the current condition of the property is safe for workers and tenants to access.
- Stop the moisture source and dry out all materials that are damp.
- Decontaminate or remove all damaged materials that may have been affected.
- Evaluate if the property has been fully mitigated.
- Repair all the areas that were damaged or removed, and repair any items needed to prevent future water intrusion.
If these actions are not met, the landlord must provide a replacement dwelling or hotel room for the tenants. If the issue was directly caused by the tenant, a tenant’s dependent, or a guest of the tenant, then the “warranty” is not valid and the landlord is free to handle the situation as desired.
As you can see this is a pretty serious change with many steps to follow to be in accordance with the law.
How Can Home Inspectors Help?
One small piece of this rule that is very important is step 4 of the above actions. Once the mold clean up and removal is finished, the property must be evaluated by an outside party to ensure that the water issues have been fully mitigated.
One easy way to do this is to have mold air sample testing performed. Our inspectors can evaluate the areas for mold and moisture, and also take air samples that will evaluate the air content for mold spores.
Sampling of the air can be done in under an hour, and lab testing has a 24-hour (business day) max turnaround time. As a property manager, this can be a great way to prove that the moisture issue has been fully mitigated, and keep you in compliance with the new law. It also gives you a 3rd party report to rely upon in case any future legal issues arise.
The changes to the Residential Tenants Health And Safety Act present new challenges for property managers, landlords, and homeowners. But getting ahead of these changes and having a reliable team you can depend on in case of a crisis can help make the transition easier.
If you have questions about our moisture inspections and air sample testing, please contact us to learn more.