Can my landlord control my thermostat and enter my apartment while I am gone notifying me in text and tell me not to touch it?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Castle Rock, CO

My landlord is actually leasing the whole house from another person and we are leasing from her (which has come to my attention that this may be illegal to begin with). To begin with she has already had a friend of hers play as her landlord and threatened my fiance and pushed him. (filed a report but didn't press charges)). We want OUT! She has constantly tried to control everything (not in the lease) and she has allowed her kids to come into our apartment. Our lease states she can enter at all and any reasonable times to inspect the dwelling, work on it, or show it to prospective tenants. I don't think she can change our thermostat by law but she has control now. We only pay a flat renting fee with utilities included. Please help.

Additional information

Also, we have the basement and automatically it is way colder then the upstairs. She had told us we have our own heating system but we come to find we don't. When our thermostat is placed on Auto, she has control. (She placed this on Auto tonight and this morning because it was cold I had changed it to fan so we can actually get heat). I want to know if we can break this lease in any way without being held accountable to pay our rent amount until when the lease is supposed to be up.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Alan Jay Feldman

    Contributor Level 4

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . The answer to your first question about legality would be answered in the lease between your acting landlord (tenant) and the owner of the house. If the lease between the owner and your landlord prohibits subletting, you would be correct in that your tenancy is illegal. This in itself should be good cause for you to terminate your tenancy and move out. From the rest of your story, it seems as though you have a pretty good argument for a "constructive eviction" based on the breach of the "covenant of quiet enjoyment" that is contained in all leases in Colorado. In layman's terms this basically means that someone or something is preventing you from enjoying your tenancy. Be careful though, it is a prerequisite for you to actually move out if you claim this...you can't claim constructive eviction and still occupy the property. All this being said, you would be well-advised to send a letter - certified - to your landlord and demand that he/she stop all the things you want stopped or ask to break the lease. Things like this can get very expensive if lawyers get involved and the best practice is to try and work out the difference informally.

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