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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2983
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
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I'm the landlord. The tenant said the unit had bed bugs. I

Customer Question

I'm the landlord. The tenant said the unit had bed bugs. I contracted, paid for an inspection. It was determined the unit did not have bed bugs. The renter provided dead bugs in a plastic bag. Per the pest company's recommendation, given there were dead bugs, traps for bed legs in the master bedroom were recommended just in case. I paid to provide these & over nighted them, so the tenant would have them right away. The tenant didn't put them on for over a week. I did not hear from the tenant for months. Last month the tenant complained about bed bugs. I referred her to the company I had hired if she had questions. It has never been determined that my unit had the bed bugs or if the renter brought them in when they moved in. Today I receive rent minus $1,500.00 from a different pest company. I was not given the opportunity to meet with the company, discuss a plan and who is responsible to pay. What are my rights as the landlord?
Thank you *****
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.

What state are you located in?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.

My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

The person responsible for the payment related to the bed bugs is the person responsible for bringing them into the property. Since this can be almost impossible to ascertain it normally means the landlord will ultimately be responsible for the cleanup. If this is a stand alone house then that is much easier to prove. If this is an apartment complex then it is much more difficult. If there is no other apartment with bed bugs then your exterminator can probably pin point the cause as your tenant, you will need to contact them and have them provide any evidence. If you do get this evidence then you might be able to bring a claim against your tenant and have them be responsible for any damages and cleanup fees. At this point the tenant cannot withhold rent if you were not given written notice of the defect and a chance to remedy it. As you did in fact do that, the tenant should not be able to withhold rent especially if they were the cause of the bed bugs. Eventually if the problem is not solved a tenant can withhold rent but in this circumstance you have evidence showing that you did try to fix the problem and had no notice that it was not solved. You could evict your tenant based on nonpayment but this is a bit difficult as the courts could see this as a retaliatory eviction. The California courts favor tenants so it might be more problem than it is worth to fight this. I would consult a local attorney and ascertain your rights and look at the situation with more detail. You do have some facts on your side but there is a very good chance the tenant could prevail in this circumstance.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer as it is the only way I will be compensated for my time by the site. (There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 next to my answer, an excellent or good rating would be fantastic.)

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.

I see you have reviewed my answer, please positively rate my answer if satisfied.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.

Any chance for a positive rating?