Can you break a lease if your unit has mice?

My son has mice in his apartment. He found one that was dead already and he hasn’t put any poison out so it look like someone must have. When he spoke to his landlord, he was told that he has to handle it himself. He has a 1 year lease that just started last month but he wants to be let out of his lease. What can he do about this? Isn’t the landlord supposed to do something? This is in NYC.

Asked on November 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless the local health department has determined that your son's rental is not fit for human habitation due to the presence of rodents and other issues he would be legally not able to terminate the lease he has with his landlord due to the one dead mouse that he found.

In any residential or commercial structure, there is always the chance that rodents and other vermin will occupy the structures along with human inhabitants. The challenge is to keep the rodent and vermin population in check by the landlord and the tenant so as not to be a threat to human safety.

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