What to do about renting and termites?

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What to do about renting and termites?

We are renting a home and 2 weeks ago we discovered termites. We sprayed them and notified the landlord right away. She told us she would have her handyman come out and spray the following week. He never came. Now 2 weeks have passed and there is a swarm of termites in the backyard near the house and some inside our room. I called the landlord again and she said she would have her guy out here next week. I told her if he doesn’t show up again we are going to have a problem. She said she would try to get him here this Friday and to have my husband spray. Is there legal action we can take?

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An infestation of termites is most likely a breach of the warranty of habitability which is inherent in all leases.  What you can do is go to landlord tenant court and to start an action against your landlord for the breach, ask the court to allow you to pay your rent in to court until the matter is taken care of and for a rent abatement (reduction).  Good luck.

 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

IF the termites actually affect health or safety--that is, they make the home not fit to be used as residence, which would violate the "implied warranty of habitability,"--then if the landlord does not take "reasonable" steps to correct the problem, you may have a legal action and could seek compensation, to terminate the lease, a court order requiring correction of the issue, and/or to exterminate the  insects yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. But if the termites do not actually affect habitabilty, then you would not have a legal claim.


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