Can I sue my landlord for fraud, gross negligence and breach of implied warranty of habitability regarding a bedbug infestation?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue my landlord for fraud, gross negligence and breach of implied warranty of habitability regarding a bedbug infestation?

I have obtained written confirmation that my landlord knew of and declined treatment of a bedbug infestation prior to him leasing me an apartment. Not only did the landlord fail to disclose that fact but he added a clause to the lease stating that I woud responsible for the cost of pest control. When I objected to this clause he stated that the clause would be enforced if my living habits were the cause of an infestation. Since I thought that was reasonable I agreed. After alerting him of the bed bug issue he tried to blame me knowing that the is already existed.

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You likely have grounds to sue the landlord for:

1) Fraud--from what you write, he knowingly misrepresented (or lied about) a material (or important) fact.

2) Breach of the implied warranty of habitabilty--a significant unresolved pest infestation may violate this warranty by creating health and sanitary conditions that render the premises unfit for their intended purpose of residence.

3) Breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing--all contracts (including leases) impose an obligation on the contracting parties to not intentionally do something to destroy the "fruit"--or value--of the contract for the other party; tricking you into accepting responsibilty for a known condition and lying about whether it was pre-existing or not could violate this covenant.

It would not be negligence or gross negligence--that cause of action would not apply based on the facts you describe. (Among other things, remember that "negligence" is carelessness, and "gross negligence" is great carelessness--but you have described intentional wrongdoing.)


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption