If my tenants have bed bugs because they purchased used beds, can I require them to pay for extermination?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2011

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If my tenants have bed bugs because they purchased used beds, can I require them to pay for extermination?

They signed a lease that includes acknolwledgement of no bed bugs.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Usually, it's the landlord who is responsible for pest control, exterimination, and the like, due to the "implied warranty of habitability," which requires landlords to keep the premises fit for their intended purpose (e.g. residence). However, if the tenant him- or herself caused the pest condition or infestation, through negligence (unreasonable carelessness) or intential (i.e. deliberate) acts, then the landlord may be able to charge the tenants for the cost of extermination. If the tenant doesn't pay the amount voluntarily, then the landlord would have to sue the tenant for  the money, or else possibly take the money out of the security deposit. Also, if the tenant violated the lease in what the tenant did, that may provide grounds for eviction.

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