If I signed a lease to rent a home but found out that it was infested with roaches, what are my rights?

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If I signed a lease to rent a home but found out that it was infested with roaches, what are my rights?

Asked on June 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Landlords are not obligated to never have pests, including roaches, since that is impossible. What they *are* required to do is to take prompt, reasonable action when they discover or are notified that there is an infestation. Provie your landlord with written notice (sent some way you can prove delivery, such as fed ex or certified mail) of the problem, ask him to correct (exterminate) and ask him also to let you know when you can expect the problem to be address.

If the landlord acts within a reasonable timeframe to deal with the roaches, the problem is cured and the landlord honored his obligations. If he does not address the problem within a reasonable time frame, he may be violating the "implied warranty of habitability" (the requirement, added by law to all leases, that the rental premises be fit for habitation), which could, depending on severity, give you grounds to treat the roaches yourself and deduct the cost from rent, or even (very bad infestations making the place unlivable) treat the lease as terminated due to the landlord's breach.


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