Can I breach tmy lease because of ongoing bed bugs problems?

I’ve been fighting with bed bugs in my apartment for over a month. The management team has sent the pest control three times for a full treatment. However, last night I found a live bed bug in my bed. Can I legally terminate the lease (4 reminding month out of a half year lease) without penalty? I haven’t talked with the management yet, I’m afraid they would say that this is very a common issue, and beg bugs are all over all the apartments, hotels, etc. What actions should I be taking if they refuse (most likely) to let me go?

Asked on July 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is a section of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act dealing specifically with bed bugs.  It is ARS 33-1319.  It is avaiable online.  It does not sound like the unit had the bedbugs when you moved in, which means you likely brought them there -- from a hotel perhaps.  Can you trace their first appearance to any stay by yourself away from the apartment?  You have met your obligation under the statute to notify the landlord of the problem. There is another provision, ARS 33-1361, allowing you to give the landlord 5 days notice to fix the problem or you will terminate the lease and move out.   The problem is it appears you brought the bed bugs to the unit, so any judge is going to sympathize with a landlord who has been really trying to get rid of the bed bugs being left with an infested apartment and no tenant.  Can maybe you and the landlord agree to buy a new matress and deduct the cost from the rent and treat the place one more time?  That could do it.  I can't imagine you want to move and take that mattress with you.


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