What are a tenant’s rights regarding a severe roach infestation?

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What are a tenant’s rights regarding a severe roach infestation?

There is a severe roach infestation throughout the building. They provide basic pest control but it is not doing anything; we need a professional exterminator. The office refuses to do anything more. But the roaches are multiplying and are literally everywhere.This is not healthy. There appears to have had the problem before; I noticed old bait in the cabinets. What can I do?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases have what's known as an "implied warranty of habitability." This is a term added ("implied") to the lease which states that the rental premises must be fit for their intended purpose--in this case, residence. A severe roach infestation is often held to violate this warranty; the landlord must resolve or remediate the situation. Depending in the circumstances, you may have the right to terminate (break) the lease and leave without penalty; or to pay for an exteriminator yourself and deduct the cost from rent; or to seek monetary compensation. Since taking the wrong action, or the right action in the wrong way, can result  in your being liable to the landlord, you should consult with an attorney to explore your options and seek recourse. Good luck.


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