Requests for Repairs or to Correct a Condition
On July 1, 1999, a new law went into effect in Wyoming, the Wyoming Residential Rental Property Act. The new law gave tenants a new right-the right to demand that a landlord repair or correct a defective condition in a tenant's rental unit. The law also imposed a duty on the landlord to repair or correct. However, the new duty to repair or correct a defect imposed on the landlord is not an absolute duty, and it is recommended that if you have a condition in your rental unit that the landlord is ignoring or refusing to correct after she becomes aware of it and you want to take advantage of the new law, you consult with Student Legal Services for an explanation of what procedures you must follow in order to demand repair or correction. The sections of the Wyoming Residential Rental Property Act that refer to repairs are as follows:
W.S. 1-21-1203. Owner's duties; notice by renter of noncompliance; duty to correct; exceptions; termination of rental agreement; liability limited.
(b) If the renter is current on all payments required by the rental agreement and has reasonable cause supported by evidence to believe the residential rental unit does not comply with the standards for health and safety required under this article, the renter shall advise the owner in writing of the condition and specify the remedial action the renter requests be taken by the owner. Within a reasonable time after receipt of this notice, the owner shall either commence action to correct the condition of the residential rental unit or notify the renter in writing that the owner disputes the renter's claim. The notices required by this subsection shall be served by certified mail or in the manner specified by W.S. 1-21-1003 (by leaving a copy with the owner or his agent or at his usual place of abode or business if he cannot be found).
(c) The owner shall not be required to correct or remedy any condition caused by the renter, the renter's family or the renter's guests or invitees by inappropriate use or misuse of the property during the rental term or any extension of it.
(d) The owner may refuse to correct the condition of the residential rental unit and terminate the rental agreement if the costs of repairs exceed an amount which would be reasonable in light of the rent charged, the nature of the rental property or rental agreement. If the owner refuses to correct the condition and intends to terminate the rental agreement, he shall notify the renter in writing within a reasonable time after receipt of the notice of noncompliance and shall provide the renter with sufficient time to find substitute housing, which shall be no less than ten (10) days nor more than twenty (20) days from the date of the notice. If the rental agreement is terminated, the rent paid shall be prorated to the date the renter vacates the unit and any balance shall be refunded to the renter with any deposit due in accordance with W.S. 1-21-1208 (SEE SECURITY AND DAMAGE DEPOSIT SECTION).
W.S. 1-21-1206. Renter's remedies; notice to owner or agent; judicial remedy; attorney's fees; rights under termination of rental agreement.
(a) The remedies set forth in this section are available to a renter in compliance with all provisions of W.S. 1-21-1204 (Renter's Duties) and 1-21-1205 (Prohibited Acts by Renter) when the rental agreement has not been lawfully terminated pursuant to 1-21-1203(d). (SEE ABOVE)
(b) If a reasonable time has elapsed after the renter has served written notice on the owner under W.S. 1-21-1203 and the owner has failed to respond or to correct the condition described in the notice, the renter may cause a "notice to repair or correct condition" to be prepared and served on the owner by certified mail or in the manner specified by W.S. 1-21-1003 (by leaving a copy with the owner or his agent or at his usual place of abode or business if he cannot be found). This notice shall:
(i) Recite the previous notice served under W.S. 1-21-1203(b);
(ii) State the number of days that have elapsed since the notice was served and that under the circumstances the period of time constitutes the reasonable time allowed under W.S. 1-21-1203(b);
(iii) State the conditions included in the previous notice which have not been corrected;
(iv) Demand that the uncorrected conditions be corrected; and
(v) State that if the owner fails to commence reasonable corrective action within three (3) days he will seek redress in the courts.
(c) If the owner has not corrected or used due diligence to correct the conditions following notice under this section, or if the owner has notified the renter that the claim is disputed, the renter may commence a civil action in the circuit or justice of the peace court. The court shall endorse on the summons the number of days within which the owner is required to appear and defend the action, which shall not be less than three (3) nor more than twenty (20) days from the date of service. Upon a showing of an unreasonable refusal to correct or the failure to use due diligence to correct a condition described in this article, the renter may be awarded costs, damages and affirmative relief as determined by the court. Damages awarded to the renter may include rent improperly retained or collected. Affirmative relief may include a declaration terminating the rental agreement, or an order directing the owner to make reasonable repairs.
(d) If the court terminates the rental agreement pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the renter is entitled to receive a refund of the balance of the rent and the deposit on the rental unit within thirty (30) days of the date the agreement is ordered terminated. The renter shall be required to vacate the rental unit no sooner than then (10) days nor later than twenty (20) days after termination of the rental agreement by the court.
WARNING: The above provisions of Wyoming state law may be modified by the agreement of the landlord and the tenant (normally indicated by their signatures on a lease with terms different than the above).