What can I do regarding my apartment if it has fleas in the carpet?

I recently moved into an apartment and noticed fleas in the carpet and have gotten bitten by some already. I let the property manager know of the situation. The complexes have exterminators every Friday that enter apartments with bug issues. I however do not want to wait that long as fleas are a big pain. I haven’t even moved my furniture in due to not wanting fleas to lay eggs there. Looking up some information of fleas it seems there might always be an issue if not property taken care of especially in their different stages. I was thinking about 3 options – 1 being buying own supplies like baking soda, vacuum, flea bombs to kill the fleas and asking the manager to refund my money; 2 being asking the manager to replace the carpet; or 3 being asking the manager to switch apartments this would be last choice as I moved in most of my stuff to the apartment already. What do you recommend?

Asked on September 4, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If an exterminator is available more or less weekly, as you indicate, you can't yet do anything: a landlord must be given a reasonable opportunity to treat a pest infestation after having been given notice of it, and if they start treating it within a reasonable time frame, then they are allowed to take some time or multiple exterminator visits to correct the situation--that is, the law accepts that eliminating pests can require multiple extermiantions, and so long as the landlord is getting to it in good order, the landlord is fulfilling his obligation and the tenant has no recourse. If an exterminator may be there in a week or so, the landlord is taking reasonable steps and doing what would be expected, and you have no right to do anything more. IF the landlord and its exterminator do not resolve the issue (or at least cause a marked improvement) in a few weeks, you may have the right then to withhold rent due to a habitability issue or consider the lease terminated by the habitability problem, but first, you must give the landlord a reasonable chance to deal with this, and in the law's eyes, "reasonable" is not "instantaneous."

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