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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33803
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I leased a condo to a couple in Pasadena CA. A few months

Customer Question

I leased a condo to a couple in Pasadena CA. A few months after moving in they ended up with bed bugs. They paid to have the unit treated. Originally they thought that some guests had brought them in that stayed there for the holidays. Now it has been determined by the exterminator that the bed bugs came from a unit directly above my unit. After numerous treatments the bugs have been eliminated, but now my tenants are suing me for $9,000 the cost of the exterminator, personal items and the furniture they felt they had to replace. Am I liable for this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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The problem here is that legally a bedbug infestation would make the dwelling uninhabitable and that would put the landlord in breach of contract entitling the tenants to damages if they had to take actions to secure alternate housing and suffered any property damages.

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So unfortunately, yes, they can hold you liable as you are who they have a contract with to provide a habitable dwelling.

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However, your recourse is to sue the upstairs owner for any damages that you have to pay because they were negligent in allowing the infestation to spread to your unit, thereby causing you damages in the form of whatever you have to reimburse the tenant for.

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So ultimately, it is the upstairs owner who is liable, and you can directly sue them after your suit with the tenant is over for any damages that you might have to pay the tenant. As for what the judge might award them, I can't say, but it won't be replacement cost, it will be depreciated value of any personal property. So for example if they had a 5 year old TV that they threw out, that had a $0 value legally because things like electronics typically are assigned a 5 year depreciation schedule. After 5 years, they are considered legally worthless.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister