Can a landlord be made liable for property damage if vermin infestation caused illness and death to family pets?

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Can a landlord be made liable for property damage if vermin infestation caused illness and death to family pets?

Landlord failed to clean as agreed or inform us that the unit had been abandoned and vacant for 2 years and infested with diseased vermin. When we viewed the place, the yard was badly over grown and unaccessable, they promised to clean before we moved in. It was only after moving in that we realized the extent of unhealthy conditions. Due to the moist conditions, the soil moldy and contaminated with Leptospirosis from animal urine. There were ticks, feces an animal carcasses buried underneath overgrown foliage. Our dogs contracted Lyme and Lepto; we’ve already lost a dog and the other is still being treated.

Asked on June 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord can be held accountable for many things here and I think that you should seek help from an attorney as soon as you can.  Although the death of your pets is certainly a tragedy and I am sure that you are heart broken, generally when you sue some one for the loss of an animal - like a vet would be sued for malpractice say - you can only recover the loss of the value of the animal in dollars and cents.  It is unclear that you could recover for your emotional loss.  Good luck.


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