Is there a required temperature range for Denver apartments?
July 23, 2021 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Is there a temperature range a landlord is supposed to have their apartments within? My apartment is typically between 40-60 degrees. I have reached out to the landlord and they are shrugging their shoulders and saying that there is nothing they can do.

I have several digital temperature sensors that I've been using to track this. It is typically 90-95 degrees outside and going between these temperatures is rough. I'm having multiple bloody noses a week and frequently have a sore throat. My apartment is next to all of the AC conduit and leaving my windows open does not help. I get that it is hot out but at what point should they do something about this? I'm curious what options I have or if I can point them to something that explicitly states that this is not appropriate.
posted by drid9ghots to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Most jurisdictions in the U.S. have something called "warranty of habitability" that applies to residential leases, which creates a duty on the landlord's part (that cannot easily be avoided) to ensure that the place they are renting out is safe for someone to live in.

I'm a lawyer, but I don't know what the specific laws are in Colorado or Denver. However, I would bet a week's salary that a temperature that frequently and unavoidably drops below 50 F would violate that warranty.

However, I have no idea if mentioning that to your landlord is a good idea, since a good landlord would already have addressed this problem and bad landlords are unpredictable. But it's worth trying to talk to a local legal aid organization if you can't afford an attorney, and if you can afford it, a consultation with a tenant's rights lawyer would probably be fairly quick and somewhere in the $100-200 range, possibly a very good investment for you.
posted by skewed at 3:33 PM on July 23, 2021 [3 favorites]


You might look in the laws for the minimum temperature for habitability relative to landlord's requirement for heating. I took a quick and didn't see anything but a local tenant's rights organization might help.

In the meanwhile, you might see if you can block the AC vents so you don't get as much cold air blowing into your apartment. I've found magnetic vent covers like this to be very helpful. You can adjust the position to partially or fully block any given vent.
posted by metahawk at 3:45 PM on July 23, 2021 [5 favorites]


Best answer: You've "reached out" to your landlords, but you must put your complaint in writing: Residential Landlord Tenant Guide, denvergov.org.

Warranty of Habitability: Every Landlord is required to fulfill certain requirements that makes the rental property fit for human habitation. A Landlord breaches the warranty of habitability if i) a residential premises is deemed uninhabitable or otherwise unfit for human habitation; ii) the residential premises is in a condition that is materially dangerous to the Tenant’s life, health, or safety; and iii) the Landlord has received written notice of the uninhabitable, unfit or dangerous conditions and failed to cure the problem within a reasonable time. [...]

By virtue of renting a property, the Landlord warrants that it is fit for human use. A property is deemed unusable as a residence if it substantially lacks any of the following
2. Electric, heating, plumbing and gas facilities in good working order [...]
8. There must be proper light, ventilation, heating, and pest control.


2-pg summary, Warranty of Habitability, at colorado.gov.
The law: Colorado Revised Statutes § 38-12-503; see: § 38-12-505. Uninhabitable residential premises
(1) A residential premises is deemed uninhabitable if it substantially lacks any of the following characteristics [...] (d) Functioning heating facilities that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order

Legal Information Network of Colorado Landlord/Tenant Issues, help page. Tenant-Landlord Helpline, Denver: 844-926-6632

While the City of Longmont's tenant rights' guide stipulates "Heating facilities capable of maintaining 65 F at a point 3 feet above the floor" in its warrant of habitability, I couldn't find a specific temp for Denver. Contact the helpline, and write to your landlords. [Just in case, OP, nolo.com: Colorado law also specifies situations under which tenants may terminate the lease or rental agreement (without penalty) due to the landlord's breach of the warranty of habitability. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-507(a).)]
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:31 PM on July 23, 2021 [13 favorites]


It sounds like it's less of a matter of inadequate heating facilities, and more that the air conditioning is on overdrive:
My apartment is typically between 40-60 degrees.…

It is typically 90-95 degrees outside
Is that the case, drid9ghots?
posted by Lexica at 4:48 PM on July 23, 2021 [3 favorites]


Your landlord should want to fix this because they are losing SO MUCH MONEY by over cooling any part of the building. Frame your request as "I am concerned about energy waste and the excessive energy bills from overcooling" and they will probably come look at it. Just saying its uncomfortable will probably not get the same response (even though it should out of decency)
posted by slow graffiti at 5:08 PM on July 23, 2021 [6 favorites]


Dude, that dry air and the irritation of your sinus passages does make you more vulnerable to viruses and sinus infections. This is terrible for your immune system. Argh.

Maybe get your humidifier set up, seriously. And then send your landlord a statement of the costs associated with that -- and maybe an estimate of how much a medical bill might be if you got a worse-than-average case of breakthrough Covid-19.
posted by amtho at 8:51 PM on July 23, 2021


Can you block some of the A/C vents into your apartment? Tape plastic wrap over them? The cold air has to be coming from somewhere. (Edit: sorry, missed prior comment, but this is what I would do!)
posted by Mid at 5:57 AM on July 24, 2021


Local (county or city) regulations may have more specific standards than the state's (such as indoor temperature).

CO also makes code violations habitability issues so that's an angle to look into (i.e. if the ducting is improperly insulated).

If you can find a violation that would authorize you to repair and deduct, getting a high estimate from consumer-oriented HVAC company or remodeler and attaching it to a repair demand might spur them into action, as they will have people who are a lot cheaper they work with.

Don't actually repair and deduct (or withhold rent) without talking to a local landlord-tenant lawyer. That is something that must be done correctly for you to come out ahead.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:48 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


I had a situation with an apartment in Texas where the landlord was unwilling to fix the issue. What I ended up having to do was to send a certified letter with the complaint to the apartment complex and when they still did nothing, I contacted the city housing authority. I don’t know if you’ll have the luck that I did, but the city inspector came out and ended up going through the entire complex and they had to make many repairs (and it actually was a very well maintained complex, my problem was unique and hasn’t happened anywhere else).

Granted, you are in Colorado, but I think that is the general process everywhere: some kind of legally recognized notification of the issue and then contacting the authorities.

Also be aware that your landlord will probably very much not like you after this. When my lease was up for renewal, the complex increased the rent by an amount that was obviously chosen to encourage me to leave.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:33 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]


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