Who should pay for the cost of exterminating bed bugs?

The people downstairs had bed bugs and had to moved a week ago. Now the bed bugs just invaded my apatment. The landlord wants us to pay $300 to bomb the apartment. Another unit had bed bugs; they moved out.2 weeks ago. Now the bugs are at my apartment, after us living here for 5 months with no problems. The landlord wants us to pay $300 to get our place bombed. But this isn’t our fault. The pest control company just called and wanted to schedule us and another apt in the same building on the same day. Now we need a new mattress.

Asked on July 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Typically, the landlord is responsible for the cost of extirmination or pest control; that is because all rental  properties come with what is known as the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the obligation on the landlord to provide rental premises which are fit for their intended purpose (such as residence). Pest conditions can violate this warranty, by making the premises unhealthy for inhabitation; hence, the landlord must provide pest control services. The exception is if the tenants cause the infestation, such as by not disposing of old food or garbage, or interfere with pest control, rendering it ineffective, such as by not bagging up clothing for bedbug removal. In these cases, since the tenant has caused or exacerbated the problem, the landlord can look to recover the cost of extermination from the tenant. However, if the tenant is not somehow responsible, the tenant should not pay.


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