If I recently moved to an apartment building with an on-going bed bug problem of which I was unaware, do I have any legal grounds to end my lease?

Soon after moving to my current apartment I discovered that there were bed bugs. I then learned that the building had been infested within the past year. The landlord failed to mention the situation when I signed the lease. He is refusing to let me out of my lease and has even suggested that I am responsible for the problem. I would like to know if I have the right to break the lease and if I would need a lawyer to do so.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you have legal grounds to end your lease with your landlord as a result of the bed bug infestation lies within the presumed written lease that you and the landlord signed. If you have a written lease, you need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

Look carefully in the document as to grounds for you to end your lease. Possibly health or safety conditions might be mentioned. If so, you then need to contact the health department where you reside to see if the bed bug issue is a health issue and if so, possibly the landlord's failure to eliminate it could be a basis for ending your lease.

In the interim, you should consider consulting with a landlord tenant attorney regarding your situation.

 


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