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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    California
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    Default Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

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

    Question for my brother: He entered into a year long lease. There were numerous things that weren't working correctly (a burner, blinds) but these were all written down in the before moving in inspection sheet. There were other things (dings in the doors, walls, cracked counters, floors, bullet hole in window, etc). These things didn't really concern my brother.
    They have lived there since April (almost 4 months). For about a month, there has been a bad infestation of ants. These ants are naturally getting in the sink, dishwasher, also in the bedroom. They have had the property manager call a pest guy out 3 times, all without fixing the problem (only temporary).
    My question is, in their lease it states that it is a year long. If they do move out they are still required to pay the rent until the property management office finds a new renter.
    Would this be considered a reason to be able to break their lease? There are no written explanations of exceptions in their lease. My brother is concerned about this mainly because of his 2 year old son. It's a safety thing to him.

    Any idea?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    17,019

    Default Re: Infestation of Ants

    I don't see that ants are a safety hazard for a child. I live near the woods and we get them visiting every year. Haven't lost a kid yet. Regular spraying, if done with the appropriate chemicals and in the appropriate manner keeps them from visiting. You have indicated the LL has attempted to deal with them. That is what the law requires.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    You've not indicated that the ants pose any actual health or safety issue - ants are very common insects - and you indicate that the landlord has been diligent about trying to resolve the infestation. In other words, you have not yet stated any valid basis to escape the lease.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,909

    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    Quote Quoting mrshiggins
    View Post
    Would this be considered a reason to be able to break their lease?
    Almost certainly not.

    Quote Quoting mrshiggins
    View Post
    Any idea?
    Yes.

    Tell your brother to visit a local Do-It-Yourself pest control store and buy a jar of Max-Force granules.

    Follow the instructions on the jar and the ant problem will quickly go away.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
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    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    The ants are now getting into their food. Like cereal that has been opened, through the box and such. Coffee, sugar, even if it's closed. They are in their clean dishes, dishwasher, sink, bedroom. They have scrubbed their place from top to bottom.

    When does it become a health hazard?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Adjuster- I would assume that the landlords are responsible for this time of upkeep. I don't think it is right for a tenant to have to do things that the landlord is responsible for. One of the great things of renting: you aren't responsible for some things.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    When it reaches the point the ants have eaten all the wood trim, the dining room table and half the living room sofa, there might be a case. Until then it is just a situation involving tenants that are not very sharp crayons. Hopefully, the place will never catch fire. They would likely see it as great opportunity for a weeny roast.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    Quote Quoting mrshiggins
    View Post


    Adjuster- I would assume that the landlords are responsible for this time of upkeep. I don't think it is right for a tenant to have to do things that the landlord is responsible for. One of the great things of renting: you aren't responsible for some things.
    So while you are debating that point the ants aren't paying any attention.

    Sometimes, the only one responsible for your own self-preservation is YOU.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    They need to talk ot the landlord about having the exterminator come back and perhaps to spend a bit more time identifying the location of the colony or using a different poison.

    Most homeowners have had to deal with ants at one point in time or another. It's part of life. To have an infestation return after three visits by an exterminator in a house that's kept clean is quite unusual. You have not identified anything that the landlord has done wrong.

    Tell us exactly what the ants look like (size, color, etc.) or, better, post a link to a picture. Here are some common types of ant.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    1,988

    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    have you been having dry conditions recently?

    ants can go for days without finding new food, they need water constantly. I suggest hot shot liquid ant baits they come in packs of 4 i have had to use them twice, once at my old apartment a few years ago and 2 got rid of the ants, this spring during a dry spell i was feeling overrun (although it was less than what you have described) at one point I squished 13 in my bathroom. the remaining two traps got rid of the problem.

    the liquid baits attract and poison hungry and thirsty ants, and the translucent glass holders look nicer than the black plastic disks.


    you can also make your own ant poison from sugar borax and water but the hot shots are only $5-7 for a 4 pack, easier to deploy, and practically zero maintenance instead of having to re-wet cotton balls every few days as they dry out

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
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    Default Re: Can You Break Your Lease Over an Infestation of Ants

    The exterminator was out last night.... but now they are in the bedroom.
    They are small tiny black ants. It is dry here. My brother actually stopped buying food so they wouldn't get into it (like they've done before). My sister in law is going to call again Monday. And this will be the 5th call! They've put their own little traps down. Those clear liquid traps. Didn't work I guess.

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