Can I sue my apartment complex for bed bugs and ticks infestation?

I transfered into a 3 bedroom from a 2
at the end of July. I and my 9 month old
twin babies have been experiencing bites
after a week or two of moving into my
new place. I have been trying to comply
with my property manager for a month now
and still no results. This is has caused
me a lot of suffering as well as for my
kids. I had to removed my kids from our
home so they won’t get bit up again.

Asked on October 1, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the landlord fails to take reasonable efforts to resolve a pest infestation (such as bringing in a professional exteriminator more than once, since multiple treatments are generally required) after having received written notice or warning from the tenant of the problem, the tenant may be able to do one or more of the following:
1) Withhold rent, until the condition is fixed (keep the withheld rent available to be deposit into court--that is, held by the court safely in escrow pending resolution--if the landlord tries to evict or takes you to court for the rent; you generally have to deposit the rent in cases like this).
2) Pay the costs to get it taken care of (i.e. hiring a professional exterminator of your own) and deduct the cost thereof from your rent.
3) Treating the lease as terminated by the failure to provide a safe, healthy and fully habitable space (breach of the "implied warranty of habitability") and move out.
4) Sue the landlord for reasonable costs you incur (such as hotel to stay elsewhere for a reasonable time while the condition is fixed).
Landlord-tenant law can be somewhat tricky and technical: if possible, hire a landlord-tenant attorney to help you, or else seek free help (if you qualify for it) from Legal Services.


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