What is a reasonable amount of time for a landlord to take care of a rat infestation?

UPDATED: May 25, 2012

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What is a reasonable amount of time for a landlord to take care of a rat infestation?

About 2 weeks ago my landlord was at my property and saw evidence of rats in the attic. He has not done anything so today I sent him an email about this issue. State lasw mandates that a landlord provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single-family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant. I am in a single-family residence but this issue was here before we moved in rat poison was in the attic before we knew about the problem. He is bring by rat traps on Sunday but has told us before that he would bring something by on other days. Can I legally break my lease and how would I go about this?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The presence of rats or other rodents at your rental does not in and itself give you a legal basis to terminate your lease. However, if the presence of such rodents are such that a health issue has arose, then you may have a basis to end your lease. For that, the local health department would have to get involved.

As to the reasonableness of the timing for the placement of rat infestration devices, custom and practice in the landlord tenant industry is immediate placement. Meaning, within a 24 hour time period. I suggest that if your landlord is not getting your probplem resolved to your satisfaction in the near future, that you contact your local health department to have an inspection of your rental with respect to the presence of vermin.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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