What to do about a recurring bed bug problem that management is ignoring?

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What to do about a recurring bed bug problem that management is ignoring?

I have lived in this apartment complex for about 1 1/2 years and have had 3 bed bug issues. The first one was 15 months ago, the next 3 months ago, and we just saw a bug on our living room wall 1 month ago. The last treatment was almost 3 months ago. We have never had this problem before. The county inspector contacted management about this, which-has done nothing. I’m going to be getting proof from my ex landlord stating nothing happened back at home. Do we have a case?

Asked on January 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

All leases come with what's known as the implied warranty of habitability--an obligation that the rental premises be fit for their intended purpose, which, in this case, is residency. Significant pest infestations can violate that warranty. While a landlord does not have to be perfect, he or she must take reasonable steps to resolve the problem; if the landlord does not--and that includes "escalating" the treatments if whatever it tried at first does not work--then the landlord  may be violating the warranty.

You could sue the landlord, seeking both a court order directing the problem to be abated and also potentially monetary compensation for the time you've lived with bedbugs. (For very severe infestations, hyou may be entitled to break the lease, too.) The KEY issue is the severity--bed bugs everywhere or bedbugs biting you would seem to violate the warranty; a handful of bedbugs occasionally glimpsed likely would not.


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