Is the landlord responsible for paying the cost of a hotel if the tenant’s apartment suddenly becomes uninhabitable?

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Is the landlord responsible for paying the cost of a hotel if the tenant’s apartment suddenly becomes uninhabitable?

A friend just arrived at her house to find the place swarming with termites. They cover the floor, ceiling, etc. The bottom line is; the place is currently uninhabitable, but only for a temporary amount of time until the issue is resolved. In this case, who would be responsible for the cost of the temporary living arrangements? In CA.

Asked on March 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is who is responsible generally. If the terminates are due to the landlord not taking adequate precautions, not dealing with termites brought in by another tenant--in short, any reason that is not your friend's fault--then the landlord should most likely have to pay; after all, the landlord is breaching the lease, which is a contract, by not providing--temporarily--an inhabitable apartment. However, if the termites could be shwon to have been your friend's fault in some way--e.g. she had warning of a small problem, but refused to let exterminators in to deal with it when small; or she brought then in some infested furniture she bought--then the landlord probably does not have to pay--your friend can't cause the problem then be compensated for it.


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