If I live in an apartment that has become infested with bats and ticks that feed on bats, is this cause to break a lease?

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If I live in an apartment that has become infested with bats and ticks that feed on bats, is this cause to break a lease?

The bats have crawled in hole on the outside of the apartment and are living inside the space between my bedroom wall and the outer wall. The complex wants to just fill the hole which will not take care of the bats or ticks. It will make the bats find a way out. The likely outcome is that they will try to come into my apartment through the wall. They claim to have sprayed for bugs but I have found living ticks throughout my house and without removing the bats, the bugs will remain anyway. I don’t know if they can both truly be removed to not cause a health issue.

Asked on June 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All rental units have what's known as the implied warranty of habitability, which is the legal obligation to provide premises which are fit for their intended purpose--in this case, residence. Serious pest infestations that can affect health can violate this warranty. The landlord is not held to a standard of perfection--it is accepted that sometimes infestations will occur--but is required to take reasonable steps to correct the problem. If the landlord has proposed and is acting on (in a reasonable amount of time) a solution, you have to give the landlord a chance to see if his/her/its solution works. If it does work, there would be no grounds to terminate the lease. If it doesn't work and you put the landlord on notice of the problem and he/she/it takes further reasonable steps, you need to see if those steps work. Only if this proposed hole-filling solution does not work, you let the landlord know it does not work, and the landlord then fails to take further action after notice, would you seem to have grounds to terminate the lease for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.


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