What are our rights when it comes to a bed bug infestation?

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What are our rights when it comes to a bed bug infestation?

We live in an apartment that was recently infested with bedbugs we have a hint that the people next door to us were infested then received treatment we also think that it could have traveled to our unit. We informed the landlord of this and she told us that we have to pay for the treatment which we are unable to do. I think its unfair that we have to pay for something that was caused by them.We are also unable to sleep till this situation is taken care of. What should be our next move?

Asked on April 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is my understandingunder Florida law that it is the landlord's responsibility to take care of this issue.  What I would do is to start an action in landlord tenant court for a breach of the warranty of habitability and to pay your rent in to court.  Here is the statute that may apply and the last paragraph is the one that the landlord may be hanging his hat on.  Good luck.

 

Florida Statute 83.51. Landlord's obligation to maintain premises

(1) The landlord at all times during the tenancy shall:

(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; or
(b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition. However, the landlord shall not be required to maintain a mobile home or other structure owned by the tenant.
The landlord's obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex.
(2)(a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:
1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days' written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.
2. Locks and keys.
3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.
4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.
5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.
(b) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, at the commencement of the tenancy of a single-family home or duplex, the landlord shall install working smoke detection devices. As used in this paragraph, the term “smoke detection device” means an electrical or battery-operated device which detects visible or invisible particles of combustion and which is listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Laboratories, Inc., or any other nationally recognized testing laboratory using nationally accepted testing standards.
(c) Nothing in this part authorizes the tenant to raise a noncompliance by the landlord with this subsection as a defense to an action for possession under s. 83.59.
(d) This subsection shall not apply to a mobile home owned by a tenant.
(e) Nothing contained in this subsection prohibits the landlord from providing in the rental agreement that the tenant is obligated to pay costs or charges for garbage removal, water, fuel, or utilities.
(3) If the duty imposed by subsection (1) is the same or greater than any duty imposed by subsection (2), the landlord's duty is determined by subsection (1).
(4) The landlord is not responsible to the tenant under this section for conditions created or caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.


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