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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    1

    Angry 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Colorado

    I am in a 14 month lease for a 3 bedroom townhome with 3 other friends: a single person and a married couple. Their bedrooms are on the top level, my bedroom is in the basement. The basement had a flood in the main living room/laundry area a few days after we moved-in in January, due to a pipe bursting when we used the hose. Drywall was replaced and a dehumidifier was used for a while to try to remove the moisture. There was another flood the week of August 2nd; this flood was in my bedroom, coming from the water main. I don't know when exactly the flood happened, but best guess is the 4th because on that day my roommates noticed water in the middle of the living area of the basement, against the wall. It would make sense that the water could have seeped under the laminate and pooled there due to a slight slant in the ground. I was away for the week, and when I came home on the 8th, it smelled like mildew in my room and I didn't see any standing water, until I stepped on my rug and realized it was soaked, and I noticed the paint was bubbled and the floor looked like it had dried water on it, below the main. I left to get a rug cleaner to suck up the water, and when I came back, rocks outside were wet, above my bedroom but no where else, and the water was coming out of the main pipe again when I got to the basement. I got the water dried up to the best of my ability and set up a fan after moving all of my furniture to avoid damage. A plumber arrived that evening to try and determine the cause, and maintenance arrived on the 10th to set up additional fans and pull out baseboards, etc.

    At this point, my room is uninhabitable and our leasing guy said he will credit me for the weekend. I went back today to see how things look, and it's still uninhabitable and there will be a lot of construction which will result in me being out of my room for at least a week, but probably more.

    I don't want to live here any more. My room does not have windows or vents, and I don't feel comfortable sleeping in a room with so much water exposure, possible mold, and no ventilation. Who's to say there won't be another flood of some kind during the next 6 months I have to live there and I will have to, again, rearrange my whole life for a period of time?

    Questions: Is this something I can use to get out of the lease? It is one lease with 4 names on it. What are the next steps I should take to get out without penalty? I don't want my roommates' rent to go up if I leave... Is there anyway to do that too?

    I believe this is the one clause in the lease that applies to this scenario: "If the Premises or any part of the Premises is destroyed due to fire, explosion, or any other casualty, or if the Premises or any part of the Premises become unsafe, hazardous, or uninhabitable as determined by Landlord in his sole and absolute discretion, Landlord may at his option, upon written notice to Resident, either immediately terminate this Lease or repair the Premises. Regardless of the extent of damage to the Premises or any portion of the Premises, Landlord may also upon written notice immediately terminate this Lease, if in Landlordís sole and absolute discretion, any repairs necessitated by any event would be either impractical or dangerous, if Resident continued to occupy the Premises."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,605

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    Worries that are not supported by actual facts are not going to get you out of the lease. Moreover, you cannot terminate your lease separate from your roommates. You're going to need to discuss your concerns with your roommates and then, if you all can agree on something, approach your landlord collectively.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,845

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    If the landlord had rented you a windowless bedroom, you might have a case on lack of habitability. I suspect however, he rented you a house with sufficient LEGAL living space to support the number of people on the lease (nothing requires you each to have your own bedroom). You were the one who chose to try to sleep in the uninhabitable space.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    620

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    A window that meets EGRESS is not required if there is an exterior door in that room.

    No EGRESS door and the lease can be terminated due to safety concerns.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    1,665

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    Quote Quoting Harold99
    View Post
    A window that meets EGRESS is not required if there is an exterior door in that room.

    No EGRESS door and the lease can be terminated due to safety concerns.
    Again, I must agree with Harold. In order for a bedroom to be legal that must be a second means of egress but that doesn't mean it has to be a window. There is no requirement that a bedroom have a window. Trust, me. I spent 16 months in quarters where my secondary egress was basically a freezer door that was just large enough to meet the requirements. None of the quarters in that space had windows.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    7,001

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    Quote Quoting Harold99
    View Post
    A window that meets EGRESS is not required if there is an exterior door in that room.

    No EGRESS door and the lease can be terminated due to safety concerns.
    Wrong. According to the International Residential Code and every code we us in the US, there must be two points of egress from a bedroom. And then you have the issues of ventilation in the code.

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
    View Post
    Again, I must agree with Harold. In order for a bedroom to be legal that must be a second means of egress but that doesn't mean it has to be a window. There is no requirement that a bedroom have a window. Trust, me. I spent 16 months in quarters where my secondary egress was basically a freezer door that was just large enough to meet the requirements. None of the quarters in that space had windows.
    How are you agreeing with Harold when he says that there can be only one egress point? And are you saying that your second egress point was to go into a freezer or were you living in a freezer?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,845

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    THe basement room is almost certainly not habitable space (egress, ventilation, etc...). It would appear, however, that Acgr and his housemates are corenters of the house as a whole. As long as there is sufficient habitable bedrooms (possibly with more than one person in each one) to support the number of tenants rented to, there's no "habitability" argument. He's got a spat with his corenters about them making him sleep in the basement, but it's means nothing with regard to his oblgiations under the lease.

    Now if it was a sublet, he could use that argument to break the arrangement with his "landlord" which would be the tenant of the other landlord, but it doesn't sound like that is the case here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,665

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    How are you agreeing with Harold when he says that there can be only one egress point? And are you saying that your second egress point was to go into a freezer or were you living in a freezer?
    Whoops! You are correct, there must be two points of egress, I was agreeing that one of them does not have to be a window.

    As to your second question: my quarters were the warm place but outside, through the secondary egress it was -50f. If you look at old pictures of the Dome at Amundsen-Scott Station, located at the geographic South Pole, I lived in there for 14 months. The dome is a windbreak. I also lived for 4 months out at Summer Camp just to the north of the dome, in one of those tents. Don't leave your beer on the floor.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    620

    Default Re: 2 Floods in 8 Months; I Worry About Mold and Want Out of My Windowless Bedroom

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    Wrong. According to the International Residential Code and every code we us in the US, there must be two points of egress from a bedroom. And then you have the issues of ventilation in the code.
    You are incorrect and so was I. There does not have to be two points of EGRESS that meet code unless the dwelling was built or remodeled after the current EGRESS code was established. Older homes cannot be forced to be brought up to EGRESS standards. Its called 'grandfathering.' Furthermore, when I change out windows, I do not have to bring them up to EGRESS code if I do not touch the window frames, which is called retro-fitting. So, even though the OP thinks he can call out the landlord for not meeting EGRESS safety requirements, he cannot because those codes do not apply to older homes. Not unless there was recent work performed on those doors or windows that do not meet enforceable codes. Also, if there isn't a closet in that room, it isn't a bedroom, whether he chooses to sleep in there or not. No closet...no EGRESS requirement! Not even if it is new construction.

    How are you agreeing with Harold when he says that there can be only one egress point? And are you saying that your second egress point was to go into a freezer or were you living in a freezer?
    I did not say there can only be one EGRESS point. I assumed there would be an interior bdrm door and a second ext door. In that case any size window will suffice. Also, 'grandfathering' can make almost anything legal.

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    THe basement room is almost certainly not habitable space (egress, ventilation, etc...).
    I am not sure if a building inspector can tell occupants where they can sleep, or what space is "habitable." They can dictate code but if a person wishes to sleep in the kitchen, closet or basement, I'm not sure if they can legally stop or cite that person for doing so. But they do cite folks for converting garages into bedrooms, but I am not sure what code or authority they act upon.

    So, if sleeping in the garage is illegal, is sleeping on the living room sofa illegal too? If so, I'm in big trouble.

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