Can I do anything if I have bedbugs and I told the manager numerous times over the last 3 months that I’ve been seeing them but nothing has ever done?

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Can I do anything if I have bedbugs and I told the manager numerous times over the last 3 months that I’ve been seeing them but nothing has ever done?

Now my whole body has bedbug bites and there’s now an infestation and I have to continue living in the same apartment.

Asked on June 18, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) You can contact your local building and/or health department and report this: an untreated bedbug infestation may be a violation of the landlord's obligations under local ordinances and code, and they may issue the landlord a summons.

2) You can pay for exterimination and deduct the cost from rent; if the landlord doesn't accept that and tries to evict you for non-payment, you would raise as a defense that the landlord was ignoring the problem, forcing you to take action.

3) You can withhold rent (keep it available; you may need to deposit it if/when you get to court) for a violation of the "implied warranty of habitability"; again, when the landlord tries to evict for nonpayment, you would raise the failure to treat the pest infestation as a defense.

Only try 2) and 3) above if you can document that you provided your landlord notice in writing and an opportunity (time) after providing written notice (preferably send some way, like certified mail with return receipt) that you can prove delivery to address the problem (e.g. bring in an extirminator).


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