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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10213
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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The lease agreement with tenants has such items " tenants is

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The lease agreement with tenants has such items " tenants is repsonsible for all bugs treatment", they signed the the lease. that was why we set rental price low.
1) is above item legal ?
2) even above item is not legal, we need to treat bugs. he said his wife saw a rat in the outside of house , ask me to treat. can we reject his request because of outside of the house ?it can be from neighbor's house.

William B. Esq. :

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William B. Esq. :

The landlord has an obligation to provide a "habitable" residence. This includes specifically the prevention of infestation (both rodents and insects). The tenant appears to have negotiated specifically to treat for insects in this instance - if you can show that the tenant separately and knowingly contracted to treat for insects you have a reasonable chance to argue that the tenant has taken on this responsibility and that the landlord is no longer responsible for this issue.

William B. Esq. :

Regarding the rodent issue - that would be excluded from the insect problem, courts would more likely than not interpret your exclusion or transfer of responsibility very narrowly. However, a rat outside the home is not an infestation of the home, and unless there is actually a rodent infestation in the home, there is no obligation to take affirmative action (although it may be worth looking into the situation - that is only a prudent precaution and not a legal obligation).

William B. Esq. :

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Thank you for using our service, please do not forget to rate my answer when you are satisfied. I am going to transfer our conversation to the "Q&A" format to ensure you can review the entire response and that I can follow up to any questions you may have quickly. I do wish you the best of luck in this matter.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

is cockroach a kind of insects which can be transferred to tenants responsibility ?


Cockroaches are insects. The control or management of insects can be transferred to tenants - but only by express consent and agreement. The default (and preferred by the courts) position is that the landlord is responsible for preventing infestation by insects and rodents (the landlord owes the tenant an "implied warranty of habitability").

If the tenant has expressly taken on responsibility for insect/bug control, then they would be responsible for management of any cockroach issues in the rental.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do have such a written term " tenants is repsonsible for all bugs treatment",

in the Lease agreement, but they said they did not read in detail at that time.

what can I do ? I am ok to re-sign new agreement, but they don't want to do it. They say owner should always be responsible for bugs by law.

I can not make that term, is it true?


Your tenant does have the upper hand in this matter. Even having this clause in the lease, while it would be enforceable in a commercial lease, or in any ordinary contract, is likely not enforceable in a residential tenancy lease unless it is separately initialed or acknowledged due to the public policy in favor of providing a habitable property to the tenant.

If the current lease has expired, you can change the other lease terms (monthly rent for example) to reflect the cost for an exterminator or other charges related to pest control (or any other reason you wish to raise rent). If the lease has not yet expired, you may simply end up having to pay for the insect control out of pocket - a lawsuit over habitability is a precarious position for a landlord (the tenant can withhold rent, and break the lease without penalty as a remedy if they prove there is an issue with habitability).

Keep in mind, I am not making any statement regarding the veracity of your tenant's statements, and perhaps it is worth refuting their claims, I am not there and I do not have anything to base a legal opinion on specific to your situation, the above is "general information" related to these types of situations only.
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