There’s a hole in the ceiling of Krista Tonuci’s apartment, and she says if the landlord had fixed the roof months ago, her living room would be a much more habitable place.
"As you can see, they fell through the roof yesterday,” the 29-year-old said.
Construction workers are replacing the roof on the building of the building at 43333 West 44th Avenue after it was damaged from the hailstorm in May.
" … I was taking a nap in the other room, then all of a sudden I heard a crash, and then I overheard somebody say ‘I just fell through the roof,’” she said of Wednesday’s events.
Krista and her roommate called Denver Environmental Health on Oct. 9 -- even before she says a construction worker fell through her roof.
Documents show DEH cited the landlord with numerous violations, including mold growth and a leaking ceiling that the DEH says started in April.
Krista doesn’t feel safe living here.
“Absolutely not,” she said. “Not with people falling through the ceiling.”
But over the phone, the landlord, Jake Sager, said “no, I don’t think it’s unsafe to live in.” He does not plan on paying for his tenants to stay somewhere else while the ceiling is fixed.
"They're not required,” said April Jones, an attorney with Colorado Affordable Legal Services.
She specializes in tenant rights and says Colorado laws make this a landlord friendly state because of a statute that doesn’t force them to pay for things like alternative housing.
"There's also the option that a tenant can file to seek injunctive relief,” said Jones.
Sager has reduced their rent this month.
Krista currently splits $550 on a month to month lease. She knows it’s cheap, but says that’s no excuse.
"Everybody who’s paying for their place deserves to have a safe living situation,” she said.
Sager told me he tried to fix the roof earlier but fought with the insurance company.
“It was not a matter of negligence on any part,” he said, adding he has spent thousands of dollars on temporary fixes.
He has 5 days from the time he receives the letter from the DEH to repair the roof. Sager says he has not received it, but when asked if he will comply he said “I don’t really have a choice.
The DEH says their investigation is still open.