Do I have to pay rent while dealing with bed bugs?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Do I have to pay rent while dealing with bed bugs?

I first saw a bed bug in my apartment 6 weeks ago. They came to me from another unit that has them that my complex failed to get rid of 8 months ago. 2 different exterminators say that I have had the bed bugs for 3 months based on evidence and stage of life they found them in. Am I legally responsible for paying rent for the 6 weeks I have known about them while being treated, and can I fight to get the money I paid for the previous 3 months back that I was unaware I had them?

Asked on July 28, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I would immediately report the bed bug infestation to your landlord in a telephone call and a follow up letter keeping a copy asking that the problem be remedied by him or her immediately. If not taken care of within a reasonable time by the landlord's knowledge of the problem, he or she should be sent a letter that you will remedy the problem on your own and deduct the cost from your monthly rent.

You can make a good argument that the landlord should discount a portion of your rent for the time of the infestation that he or she knew about the problem before it was eliminated. It does not seem appropriate to expect the landlord to reimburse you rent for a problem that he o she was not even made aware of.

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