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Code violations turn worse for Aurora apartment renter

Posted: 9:53 PM, Sep 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-20 00:41:57-04

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at  contact7@thedenverchannel.com  or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories  here .

AURORA, Colo. — A basement apartment renter in Aurora tells Contact7 she’s been dealing with exposed electrical outlets, plumbing issues, and an emergency exit window not up to code. But after more digging, it turns out there may be deeper issues regarding the apartment’s construction and whether it was legally allowed to be rented out.

“I was told it was a brand new build apartment,” said Deeann Hampton. She lives in the two-bedroom apartment with her teenage daughter.

She showed Contact7’s Jason Gruenauer the electrical, plumbing, and access issues. Some were clearly not up to the City of Aurora’s building code. She says her landlord hasn’t been returning her calls.

“I’ve tried to contact him with no response on anything,” she said.

The landlord didn’t respond to calls or emails from Contact7 either.

According the the City of Aurora’s public building permit records, there was no building permit applied for or granted for construction of the finished basement apartment. There is only a record of a 2016 contractor choosing to not work with the homeowner on a basement finish.

Just last August, the landlord did apply for a building permit to “bring the non-permitted basement finish into current code compliance.”

That permit was granted on September 17. It states that “this basement cannot be used as a rental unit.” That’s something Deeann was never told.

“It’s unsafe to be down here, but we have no money to go anywhere else,” she said. “We would probably end up going and living in my car. That’s the other option.”

Contact7 will continue to follow this story, including asking the City of Aurora if Deeann was rented an apartment illegally and if this is a bigger problem facing the city.