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Can I break my lease?

Lakewood, CO |

In the past 2 months our boiler has gone out 5 times. Yesterday my fiance called it in and they said they would have to come into the apartment to check the valve. He told them he is not on the lease and cannot let them in the apartment, they told him it was an emergency and if he did not let them in, I would be liable for any damages. My fiance called and told me the situation. I had to leave class to go to my apartment and let them in. I told them I did not want anyone to go into my apartment without someone there. Upon arrival, I called the office and told them they could come now and they said they didn't have to it was only the boiler. Is there any way I can get out of the lease for this? I can't miss school and work because they aren't doing their jobs correctly.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    I think the primary issue here is whether the boiler issue provides a basis to termiante the lease. The issue of having access to the premises for repairs is rather simple to resolve and provide in an agreement.

    You may have a right to claim that the premises are uninhabitable under Colorado law. Colorado adopted statutes providing for a warranty of habitability in residential premises. That statute states that a premises may be uninhabitable if it lacks various characteristics. If the premises “substantially lacks” waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls maintained in good working order, including unbroken windows and doors, then it may be uninhabitable. See CRS §§ 38-12-501 et seq.

    If the premises are uninhabitable you have several remedies. You may be able to terminate the rental agreement, after certain notices have been given and specified time periods have passed (this really depends on severity of the problem). You may also file suit for an injunction against the landlord plus request an award damages, if you win the case. Here are some brief discussions of this law http://www.coloradostatesman.com/kopel/new-law-requires-rental-units-be-habitable and http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3767&Itemid=1406#UNIHABITABLE.

    You must provide written notice of the problem to allow the landlord to attempt to remedy. There are various requirements to comply with under this act and all must be followed to the letter. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you contact an attorney to advise you on your rights and the steps to exercise those rights.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  2. You should discuss your options with a local landlord / tenant attorney (this isn't a debt question), but probably not. Read over your lease and see what it says about maintenance and / or notice to come into the apartment. Unfortunately this sounds more like just plain inconvenience and disappointing service from your management company.

    My answer is for only informational purposes and is not legal advice. I am licensed to practice law in Oregon and I recommend contacting a local attorney for the best help with your legal questions.


  3. The facts that you mention MIGHT entitle you to break the lease based on a "constructive eviction" or at least pay less i rent on a monthly basis. Landlords need to make sure that the apartment is habitable - with proper heat, water, electricity, etc. You might want to have a serious sit-down conversation with your landlord first though before taking any drastic action and having this end up in court, which will just cause you to miss more school and more work.

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