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

UPDATED: Jun 20, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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.

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