CanI sue my ex-landlord for the bed bug problem I’m having?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

CanI sue my ex-landlord for the bed bug problem I’m having?

I have moved and we are starting to have a problem with bed bugs again. Can I sue the ex-landlord for the problem since it started at the house we rented from him and he knew of the problem when he rented it to me?

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Technically, you *may* be able to sue--a landlord has a duty, called the implied warranty of habitability, to keep residential rentals clean and hygienic, which includes a duty to deal with pest infestations when he knows of them. If the landlord violates this duty, he may be liable to the tenant for damages or costs.


1) First and foremost, you are in a new location: proving the bedbugs came from the old rental, not the new premises, or, indeed, from any place or anyone else, is likely to be almost impossible. If you can't prove the source of the bedbugs, there is no case.

2) Second, landlords are not expected to be perfect--they don't have to infallibly know when there are bedbugs, or treat them perfectly. You'd have to prove that the landlord knew of the bed bugs and did not take reasonable steps (e.g. bring in an exterminator) to deal with them--since if he took reasonable steps, he'd likely not be liable even if he was unsuccessful.

3) You can only sue for you actual out of pocket costs or losses--e.g. your costs to exterminate. You can't sue for your time spent dealing with the bedbugs or the frustration of dealing them. It's therefore unlikely you could sue for enough to make it worthwhile to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption