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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2

    Default How to Break a Lease Due to Bedbugs

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    Hello everyone,

    My boyfriend and I moved into an apartment complex about 3 months ago, and the very next day we woke up covered in bites, which we later identified as bed bugs. Five spray treatments later, the bugs are still here, so we want to break our lease. Here are the details: I notified the landlord the same day that I found the bites, and he claims, then and now, that he has no prior problems with bed bugs. We are positive we did not bring in the bugs ourselves, as we previously lived with a friend for 5 months with our same furniture, and neither our friend nor his new roommate have been affected by bed bugs. We had bought our mattress and box spring 2 months prior to moving into our current residence, brand new, still in the original packaging. As for the source of the bugs, I have found them crawling in and out of our sleeping deck (we live in a loft), as well as the brick wall (an outside wall) at the head of our bed. This probably explains why the five spray treatments have not worked. Up until last week, we were under the impression from the landlord that we are the first and only case of bed bugs he has had in the complex. However, we found out not only that many other tenants currently have bed bugs, but also that up to 1 year ago tenants were moving out because of bed bugs. I have not yet discussed this with my landlord, but my boyfriend and I cannot keep living like this. Essentially, our landlord leased us an apartment without disclosing that there are bed bugs, whether within our specific unit or the complex as a whole. So my main questions are what my legal rights are in this situation, and what I would be able to ask of my landlord. I want to break the lease, get my deposit back, and possibly get some of my already-paid rent back. I do not have it in writing, but I was able to convince my landlord that we did not necessarily bring in the bugs ourselves. Any help would be much-appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,100

    Default Re: How to Break a Lease Due to Bedbugs

    If no other tenant is presently having problems with bedbugs, the problem would appear to be either inadequate remediation or that you're introducing and reintroducing the bedbugs. (What are you doing to treat your bedding, clothing, etc., that may be contaminated, after the exterminator addresses the furniture, flooring, etc.?)

    If other tenants are complaining to you of a present problem with bedbugs but are not telling the landlord, it would make sense for you and those tenants to discuss with the landlord how a larger-scale extermination might take place to stop any migration that might be occurring between units.

    The fact that an apartment or unit has had bedbugs in the past does not, of itself, indicate an ongoing problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How to Break a Lease Due to Bedbugs

    Clarification: Other tenants currently DO have bed bugs. I meant that I discovered that this problem has been going on since well before we moved in. I'm not sure if any current tenants have mentioned it to the landlord, but I am positive he is aware of this issue. Besides the fact that other people have moved out for precisely this reason, he continually offers to have our apartment re-treated. Assuming he actually pays for this service, that would be about $300 each time, which at this point would bring the total cost of treatments so far to $1500. I think he is avoiding addressing the fact that other people have this problem, because the cost of tenting the entire structure, bottom-floor businesses included, would be very expensive, and he would be liable for not disclosing nor fixing the issue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,100

    Default Re: How to Break a Lease Due to Bedbugs

    Quote Quoting agentoseis
    View Post
    I'm not sure if any current tenants have mentioned it to the landlord, but I am positive he is aware of this issue.
    If nobody but you has mentioned a problem to your landlord, there's no reason to believe that your landlord is aware of a problem in any other unit. If you want him to treat more than your unit, I would suggest at a minimum informing him of the other involved units and, better, having the other affected tenants also request remediation.

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