May I remove a hedge in front of my apartment that is infested with insects and rat nests?

Asked on November 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not: the hedge is the landlord's property, not yours, and if you remove it, you could be evicted for deliberately damaging the landlord's property and the landlord could take the value of the hedge from your security deposit (or sue you for the money).

IF the insects and rodents are actually affecting habitability--that is, if they are making the interior of your unit not fit or safe to be used as a residence--then, under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord must address the issue within a reasonable time after you provide notice of the problem. If the landlord does not take corrective action within a reasonable time, you may have grounds to terminate your lease earlier and/or seek monetary compensation.


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