Can I legally withhold rent if we have had 3 bats in the house and the issue isn’t being addressed?

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Can I legally withhold rent if we have had 3 bats in the house and the issue isn’t being addressed?

We are not confident how the bats are getting in as the landlord has not agreed to pay for an expert or exterminator. However, we have had 3 bats in the house within 4 months. We have a dog and an 8 month old who would be unable to tell us if they have been bitten.

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Do not withhold the rent.  Instead go down to landlord tenant court and ask to start a proceeding against the landlord for a breach of your warranty of habitability and to ask the court to pay your rent in to court until such time as the matter is taken care of.  And to abate (reduce) your rent becuase of it.  I might even ask the court to make the landlord pay for you living elsewhere until the matter is resolved and it is "safe" for you to go home.  Good luck.


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