If I’m a tenant and there are bed bugs, does the landlord have to pay for a nice hotel for me to stay in or can they just pay $100 a night?

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If I’m a tenant and there are bed bugs, does the landlord have to pay for a nice hotel for me to stay in or can they just pay $100 a night?

I’m paying $2,000 per month.

Asked on June 12, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The landlord does not necessarily have to pay for a hotel at all. First, it's not a given that you have to move out if there are bedbugs--most tenants with bedbugs remain in place while they are being treated, and that's  considered the norm or acceptable.

Second, the landlord is not at fault or liable for costs or compensation if he did take or is taking reasonsble steps to deal with the problem--e.g. bringing in an exterminator. The landlord's obligation is just to do what is reasonable; he does not "insurer" you against there being pests, since pests happen in rental units and the landlord's responsibility is to simply deal with them when they do. If the landlord took reasonble steps and is not at fault, he would not owe you compensation, so if you choose to go to a hotel, that is your choice and cost.

Finally, if your unit were not habitable--the infestation was that bad--then you'd typically be entitled to rent abatement (to not paying rent for the time it is uninhabitable), which would be around $60-70 per night, based on your rent. The landlord generally does not have to go over and above the rent you are paying him.


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