Can I break my lease due to roach infestation?

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Can I break my lease due to roach infestation?

Moved into this apartment, and have had a severe roach infestation. Rental agreement states the complex handles pest control, and the management office has sprayed on 3 occasions in the past couple months. We have lined the apartment as well with boric acid, sprayed etc. to no avail. The bugs are now infesting our furniture, electronics, etc. We have 2 small children, and I am about to deliver our third. The 2nd time pest control came out they stated they have had a problem with our neighbor for 5 years. Unclear on whether statute 83.56 would deem roach infestation as untenable situation.

Asked on October 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every lease is deemed to have what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability". Typically, if your living conditions become uninhabitable, you may be able to break your lease and move out, if you can prove that the cockroach infestation is negatively affecting yours and your family's health. However, before doing so (or anything else for that matter - withholding rent, etc.) do not do this on your own before seeing a lawyer. If you fail to follow proper legal procedure, your landlord could claim that the infestation was caused by you. They could then sue you in court for illegally breaking your lease and collect all rent that may still be owed on the lease.  You need to make sure that you have evidence to back up your claims. Again, consult a real estate attorney regarding your situation. After reviewing all the facts of your case, the attorney can determine what your legal options area.


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