If have a huge cockroach infestation that won’t stop and is getting worse, canI break my leasedue tounihabitable living conditions?

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If have a huge cockroach infestation that won’t stop and is getting worse, canI break my leasedue tounihabitable living conditions?

All of our food has to be put in plastic bags so the roaches don’t get in and we can’t leave anything on the counters or they will go after it. I found 2 mounds of roaches laying eggs on my kitchen floor. Manager of leasing office sends pest control but they either don’t come when she says they will or I have to work. They will not accommodate my schedule.

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Nevada

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can safely breach your lease but do so in writing. Write down all the times pest control was to come out and when you informed the leasing office and when they did not come. Then contact your local consumer protection office that handles landlord tenant matters, especially the prosecution of slumlords. Then immediately move and inform the landlord you are required to have your security in full back due to the landlord's breach. Make sure you consult with that consumer protection agency all along the way so you are not negatively impacted in such a way you have a difficult time finding another apartment in which to live.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases have what's know as an "implied warranty of habitability," even if the lease does not say so in so many words. This means that the leased premises must be fit for its intended purpose, such as residence. If the premises is not safely or hygiencly inhabitable, that is a violation of this warranty and it *may* entitle the tenant to terminate his or her lease. An insect infestation can, depending on the severity, be a violation of this warranty.

In your case, however, it is not clear that things have reached that point, since from what you write, the landlord is willing to schedule pest control/exterminator services. You say that they won't accomodate your schedule, but you have to be flexible, too--whether that is letting them come in when you are not home, or arranging to be home when they show. (It's *not* always possible to get work done before or after the normal workday, after all.) It is not clear that if the landlord is willing to address the problem but the tenant does not cooperate, that would be  violation of the implied warranty of habitability.


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