Canyou break a lease due to cockroach infestations in public housing?

UPDATED: Aug 13, 2011

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Canyou break a lease due to cockroach infestations in public housing?

We moved in at the beginning 2 month ago with no problems. Shortly after the family that moved in below us brought cockroaches along with them. Quickly they spread throughout the whole building. Managers are not having it treated correctly and are not open to our suggestions. I have a 22 month old so this is serious cause for concern. I’m just disgusted at everything and want out. I’m just not sure how to go about this. Also, I’m not sure on the whereabouts of my lease or even sure if I received a copy. What do I do?

Asked on August 13, 2011 Alaska


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First and foremost, if you are in public housing (i.e., public subsidy), there must be proof of the lease given to the housing authority in order for your subsidy to be paid directly paid to the landlord. Contact the housing authority, explain what is occurring and explain that your home has become uninhabitable especially for your 22 month old son. Immediately notify your landlord in writing that your home has become uninhabitable and that you will be expecting he immediately take care of the situation before he is required by the court. You cannot be evicted but understand if you give him notice that pursuant to his breach of the lease and constructive eviction by improperly fixing the cockroach situation you are leaving, you will indeed have an uphill battle getting back any security deposit. Talk to the housing authority before you move so you have your ducks in a row. Also, check with the state's attorney general to see if there are any slumlord laws. Sometimes the office of the attorney general can get to this situation quicker than the housing authority.

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