Is my landlord responsible to hire exterminator for cockroaches?

I live in a 4-plex with one other resident. I receive federal rental assistance. I have seen about 4 cockroaches in the past few weeks and I believe they are coming up from her apt downstairs. I have lived here 8 years and never seen one. She’s been here less than a year. Should I let my HUD inspector know I have seen them? And will my landlord be responsible for any removal expense?

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord needs to respond to and remediate (fix or correct) pest infestations that affect habitability--that is, that make the rental premises not fit to safely or hygiencially inhabit. However, problems that do not affect habitability are ones the landlord is not obligated to respond to. Four cockroaches over a few weeks does not affect habitability; landlords are not obligated to maintain "pest free" zones, but only, as described, to respond to conditions affecting habitability. Unless the situation gets much worse than you write, your landlord does not appear obligated to take action.

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