Can I break the lease because of bed bugs if exterminators have already tried to clean the apartment?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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Can I break the lease because of bed bugs if exterminators have already tried to clean the apartment?

I’m subleasing my apartment over the summer while I’m out of state. My subletters informed me that there was an inspection done and that bed bugs were found in our apartment as well as other units in the building. The exterminators came yesterday to clean the apartment, but only after having shown up and leaving 3 times without cleaning over the course of a few weeks. Can I break the lease even if action has been taken already by the landlord?

Asked on August 5, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Most likely you will be unable to break your lease with your landlord over the bed bug issue with the apartment you are subletting to another person this summer. You have lived in the apartment with no problems with bed bugs. However, you sub-tenant has a bed bug issue. The bed-bug issue arose under your sub-lease and your landlord made efforts to remedy the situation apparently without success.

Perhaps it is your sub-tenant that caused the bed bug issue.

In California, there are laws about the landlord providing safe and habitable rentals. The landlord appears to be making efforts to resolve the infestation. Bed bugs in and of themselves do not create a condition under California law warranting the breaking of a lease unless the health department deems the situation so bad that an order for removal of habitants is issued.

So far this has not occurred.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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