Do bed bug infestations warrent breaking lease agreement 45 days early?

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Do bed bug infestations warrent breaking lease agreement 45 days early?

I have had bed bugs for more than 5 months and the apartment complex has finally agreed to treat. I have plans on moving out 10/01, a couple weeks earlier than my contracted lease agreement. I cannot live with these blood thirsty bugs any longer. I am preparing to move my personal items and leave the furniture to be treated in 2 more weeks. Am I responsible for the rent for these last 2 months?

Asked on September 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney with landlord-tenant experience before moving out. The short answer is, a bed bug infestation MAY justify breaking the lease early--but it does not always. All leases have what's called an "implied warranty of habitability." This is a term added to leases that the premises leased must be fit for inhabitation. An insect or vermin infestation may be bad enough to consitute a suficiently material (or important) breach of this warranty as to justify the tenant terminating the breach, but it depends on the facts, such as:

* How bad is the infestation?

* How long has it been going on?

* Was the landlord given written notice and written request to correct it?

* What steps, if any, has the landlord taken or is the landlord now taking

IF the landlord is now remediating (or correcting) the situation, it may not be appropriate or justified to break the lease. You need advice from an attorney who can review all the circumstances for you. Good luck.


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