If out rental property has roaches, what do we do?

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If out rental property has roaches, what do we do?

The property we live in has had roaches since we moved in and lately they have gotten worse. We do not know what to do because we have asked our manage to tell our landlord about it and fix it but nothing has been done. We have tried pesticides but nothing has worked.

Asked on May 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Then you need to go down to landlord tenant court to start an action against the landlord and management company for a breach of the warranty of habitability.  ASk the court to allow you to pay your rent in to court until the problem is fixed and for an abatement (reduction) in rent.  That will get their attention and the court will make sure that it is done.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

All rentals come with what is known as the "implied warranty of habitability"--or the obligation on the landlord to provide premises "fit for their intended purpose," which in this case means fit for someone to live in. Significant roach infestations (not just the occasional roach) would violate this warranty. When the warranty is violated, the tenant has several options, but before exercising any, must document that he/she has provided the landlord notice of the problem (best to provide written notice, sent some way you can prove delivery, such certified mail with return receipt or Fed Ex with tracking) *and* a reasonable opportunity to fix it:

1) To sue for monetary compensation for the time you've been living with the infestation;

2) To pay for an exterminator yourself and take the cost thereof out of rent--but only the cost thereof (that is, you can't generally withhold rent);

3) To seek a court order directing the landlord to remedy the situation;

4) If the infestation is bad enough, to move out and terminate the lease without penalty.

Exercising these remedies can be a little tricky, since if the problem is not severe enough, the landlord has not breached his/her obligations and you would not, for example, be entitled to take the cost of extermination out of your rent. If possible, consult with an attorney before doing anything.


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