What is a reasonable amount of time for a landlord to take care of a rat infestation?

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What is a reasonable amount of time for a landlord to take care of a rat infestation?

About 2 weeks ago my landlord was at my property and saw evidence of rats in the attic. He has not done anything so today I sent him an email about this issue. State lasw mandates that a landlord provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single-family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant. I am in a single-family residence but this issue was here before we moved in rat poison was in the attic before we knew about the problem. He is bring by rat traps on Sunday but has told us before that he would bring something by on other days. Can I legally break my lease and how would I go about this?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The presence of rats or other rodents at your rental does not in and itself give you a legal basis to terminate your lease. However, if the presence of such rodents are such that a health issue has arose, then you may have a basis to end your lease. For that, the local health department would have to get involved.

As to the reasonableness of the timing for the placement of rat infestration devices, custom and practice in the landlord tenant industry is immediate placement. Meaning, within a 24 hour time period. I suggest that if your landlord is not getting your probplem resolved to your satisfaction in the near future, that you contact your local health department to have an inspection of your rental with respect to the presence of vermin.


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