Bed Bugs And Liability: A Look At Your Rights After Of Renting A Place With Bed Bugs
When you sign a lease and rent a new place, the last thing you expect to find once you get your belongings moved in is that you have a few cohabitants that no one told you about. Unfortunately, bed bugs are such masters at staying hidden that you could easily spend your first night in your new place and wake up to find that there are things sharing your bed with you. If you have already moved into a rental home and the landlord never mentioned the place had bed bugs, you may want to contact a lawyer for advice. You do have rights as a tenant when it comes to renting a place infested with bed bugs.
Landlords are required to make sure your home is free of pests.
So you have discovered a bed bug problem in your newly rented home, now what? You should immediately contact two people, your lawyer and your landlord. In all states but Arkansas, there are laws that state a landlord must provide a safe and livable environment, which includes exterminating pests. Some places even have special annotations regarding bed bugs in rental homes, and your landlord by law must take action to get rid of the problem. If your landlord refuses to eradicate the pests, or even worse, claims you brought them in with you, talk to a lawyer for advice because you do have rights in these situations as the tenant.
You may be entitled to withhold rent.
If your landlord does nothing about the bed bug issue in the home, you may be entitled to find an exterminator on your own and then withhold rent to cover whatever it is that you have to pay. Getting rid of bed bugs can be an incredibly expensive feat, with costs running as high as $1,000 to $10,000. So this means that if your state does allow you to withhold rent to cover expenses, you could be withholding rent for quite some time.
Talk to a lawyer to see if you will be able to recoup losses.
Because the landlord should have informed you of a bed bug problem before you moved in, you may be able to file a claim against the property owner for damages. Bed bugs can mean getting rid of your furniture and even having to move to another place. Beyond that, you may also be dealing with medical bills if you are allergic to the bites and even emotional distress. These are costs and losses that you should not have to cover on your own.
For more information, contact Bishop Dorfman Kroupa & Bishop PC or a similar firm.