Is it the landlord’s responsiblity to pay for the extermination of roaches?

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Is it the landlord’s responsiblity to pay for the extermination of roaches?

I livein a single family home currently infested with roaches. In my lease it states that it is the landlords responsibility to exterminate pests. I had termites a few years ago and they readily exterminated them without a problem. However, when I requested my landlord to send someone out to exterminate the roaches they said that it was not their responsibility because they are not organic eating pests. Makes no sense because roaches do eat organic material, in fact they will eat almost any material. Am I right or are they?

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you will need to bring the lease to an attorney to review it with you. From what you write and based on general principals, it would seem this is the landlord's responsibility:

1) If the lease says the landlord  will exterminate pests and does not limit or restrict the pests for  which he is responsible, then he should be responsible for all insect infestations. (By the way: roaches, like all living creatures, do each organic material; maybe your landlord meant they don't eat wood or structural material.)

2) All leases also have what's called the implied warranty of habitability. This is a term added to leases which requires the landlord to keep the premises fit for their intended purposes--in this case, residence. A roach or other insect infestation affects health and sanitation and generally is held to be violation of this warranty. The warranty is enforceable by tenants; that is, a tenent may bring a legal action force the landlord to take steps to resolve situations affecting habitability.


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