What to do if I live in an apartment in a 4-duplex that is infested with roaches?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if I live in an apartment in a 4-duplex that is infested with roaches?

I have a 2 month old baby who we can barely put down because roaches crawl on him. I have a 6 year old who has been having severe asthma attacks in the past 3 months that have almost hospitalized him; he has had to have sterroid shots, an at home breathing machine, and 2 emergency inhalers. I have been in my 2 year lease for the last 9 months. About 4 months ago our neighbors moved and ever since then we have been infested. When I say infested I mean they crawl up and down the walls non-stop on the TV, the couches, in the shower and the kitchen. They get into the baby formula and into food, they run across the floor. Legally, what can I do?

Asked on December 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First of all, every residential lease includes what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability". This warranty basically gives a tenant the right to live in a sanitary and safe (i.e. livable) rental premises.

In such a situation as yours, you must first give your landlord notice of the situation (I assume that you have). If, after a reaonable period, your landlord has taken no steps to remedy the problem then you have several options. You can:

  1. Withhold Rent - You can refuse to make further rental payments until the infestationproblem is solved;
  2. Repair and Deduct - You can fix perform the extermination yourself and then charge your landlord for the cost; or
  3. Terminate the lease - You can end your tenancy and vacate the premises.

However, before you pursue any of these remedies, consult with an attorney that handles landlord-tenant cases or a tenant's rights organization. If you fail to follow the proper legal procedures for these self-help measures, you could be held liable for breach of your lease.

Finally, you can contact the board of health in your area and file a complaint.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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 with SHA-256 Encryption