What too do if I just moved into an apartment 3 days ago and it is infested with bed bugs?

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What too do if I just moved into an apartment 3 days ago and it is infested with bed bugs?

We have never had any bug problem before now; I have a 2 year old child and a 7 month old. We only stayed there 2 days so far but me children are covered in bites from bed bugs and I am also. I have taken pictures of it for documentation proof. Last night I spent the last of our money to get us a hotel room for the night and I’m afriad to take my children back to the appartment. There is more proof that the bugs were there before we even moved in, as the last tenant came up to me and told me he had them.

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the landlord refuses to or for some other reason does not correct the problem after receiving notice of it and some reasonable chance to correct, you would likely have grounds to terminate your lease and move out without penalty; you may also be able in that case to sue and recover any costs (e.g. moving costs) you incurred and also potentially at least part of the rent you paid for the time you lived with the infestation.

Even if the landlord does correct the problem, you may be eligible or able to recover any amounts you had to pay due to the infestation (such as motel costs) or a pro rata share (reduction) of the rent for the period of infestation.

Another potential option, if the landlord does not correct the problem, is that you may be able to bring in an exterminator of your own and deduct the cost thereof (but no more than the cost) from rent.

You have rights in a case like this, but exercising them can be tricky; doing so improperly can lead to you being liable to the landlord. It would be best if you could consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about the specifics of the situation before acting.


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