If I know that there is a pest problem, do I have grounds to be I released from my lease?

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If I know that there is a pest problem, do I have grounds to be I released from my lease?

I just signed a lease on a single last week. When I first went to see it they were painting and redoing the bathroom and common room floor. When I did a walk-through, it seemed to be OK. I did see 1 dead bug but who doesn’t expect to see a bug? I sprayed a few dys later and came to clean the net day. However, I found a lot of dead and alive (baby) roaches. I called the maintenance guy and he said that they sprayed before and it was due for a second spraying. He did send someone out next day to spray but it’s hard to move in knowing there is a roach problem.

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you do not have grounds to terminate your lease early. While landlords need to provide rental units fit for their intended purpose--such as residence--per the "implied warranty of habitability" and a sufficiently bad pest infestation can violate this warranty, the law does not hold landlords to a standard of perfection. The law accepts that problems will arise, but as long as the landlord is responsive and takes reasonable steps to address them, the landlord has not violated the warranty and the  tenant has no grounds for a legal claim or to escape the lease. If the landlord has been spraying for insects and responding to your complaints, the landlord is doing nothing wrong, and you are still obligated to your lease.


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