Can we break our lease due to rat infestation?

My husband and I entered into a lease Feb 23rd for a home in Pasadena CA.
March 7 I notified my landlord about seeing rats in our yard running along
fences and trees at night and about hearing rat like noises under the house. She
acknowledged the text but did nothing. Yesterday and today I noticed evidence
of rats inside fruits eaten on counter, droppings and pee all over. I notified my
landlord yesterday, no response. Today, reached out to my landlord again 9am,
noon, 2pm no response and phone turned off. There is no management
company, our landlord lives on the same property we are in the back house.
She told me rats have been a problem here before. I left a written notice on the
door today at noon to contact me back and take care of this issue ASAP.

Can I call to have exterminator take care of the problem and legally be
reimbursed by my landlord?

Is this negligence grounds for breaking our lease and leaving.

Asked on April 9, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The rat infestation is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability because such conditions violate the housing code
If you pay for an exterminator, you can deduct the cost from the rent.
If you move out because of the breach of the implied warranty of habitability, you can terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease.

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