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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10221
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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I have rats in my apartment. I have took pictures of several

Customer Question

I have rats in my apartment. I have took pictures of several holes where the rats are coming in and sent it to my landlord. For the past 2 days I have stayed in a hotel because of this issue. Is my landlord responsible for my hotel bill?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

If the infestation is due to issues within the landlord's control (problems with proper maintenance of the property or control over neighboring units also owned by the landlord), then the landlord is responsible for remediating the infestation.

(This is considered a "habitability" condition).

Your remedies are to:

1) Sue the landlord for breach of contract - this is the safest way to do this, you are not at risk of being pursued for "non-payment" or eviction, and you have the procedural advantage of being the plaintiff. Your damages are the diminished value of the property plus whatever economic damages you suffer as a direct result of the defect (whether or not a court is going to award you a hotel stay is something that is going to be fact specific, it isn't commonly done, but it could be possible).

2) you can "withhold and deduct" - so you can pay an exterminator to deal with the infestation then deduct that amount from the rent. This is more aggressive, and if the landlord wants to pursue this they can consider this a "non-payment" and pursue you for unlawful detainer (eviction) at which point you would have to prove that the issue was a "habitability" one, and hope the judge agrees with you.

3) you can use "rent withholding" - where you don't pay your rent until the landlord fixes the infestation. This is the most aggressive, and the same issues with non-payment and eviction concerns exist.

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