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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31523
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Granddaughter signed lease on home in Diamondhead, MS three

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Granddaughter signed lease on home in Diamondhead, MS three (3) months ago and resides with her husband and 2 young children (4 and 2 years old). She is also currently pregnant. Upon inspection by Orkin representative, bedbugs have been discovered in the entire house. The house is badly infested and certainly not conducive to healthy living. He feels the only recourse is to tent the house at a cost of over $4,600. Granddaughter notified the landlord who saw the bedbugs and stated that this situation does not come under the landlord's reponsibilities. I feel it is important to point out that within a month after moving into the home, the 4-year-old daughter was taken to a doctor because of a row of insect bites on her arm, presumably bedbug bites. Who would be liable to remedy this situation? I would appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX Diamondhead, MS

Kirk Adams :

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney in Mississippi. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to help.

Kirk Adams :

Whether or not this is the landlord's responsibility depends on whether the bugs were in the house BEFORE your daughter moved in. That's going to require that the Orkin man or someone familiar with this type of infestation to provide an opinion as to how long the bugs have been in the property.

Kirk Adams :

Usually, it is possible to determine this by the density of the infestation - - the amount of bugs and the reproduction rates, etc. can all be looked at to determine whether the bugs were there before.

Kirk Adams :

Also, your daughter could check with the previous tenants (if she knows who they are) to see if they had a problem.

Kirk Adams :

If the problem existed before your daughter moved in, then the landlord should be responsible.

Kirk Adams :

It would not be shocking to find out that the bugs were already there and that the landlord knew or should have known about the problem and didn't tell your daughter. In this case, your daughter would have the right to demand that the infestation be remedied at the landlord's cost, and if he fails/refuses to do that, then she would have grounds to cancel the lease.

Kirk Adams :

However, the first thing to do is to try and find out when the infestation began - - or at least that it has been going on for more than 3 months.

Customer :

This is information we already were aware of.

Kirk Adams : Well, responsibility for an infestation depends on who caused it. There's no automatic liability for either party.
Kirk Adams : The party that caused the situation is responsible.
Kirk Adams : If you have information that the bugs were there before your daughter moved in, then she has the right to demand that the problem be remedied, and if that is refused, then she could cancel based on a breach due to the property be uninhabitable.
Customer :

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