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GWarren Customer Advocate
GWarren Customer Advocate, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience:  30 yrs Counsel, claims, corp governance Fortune 100 financial insurance co., law firm. OH NJ license
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Im living in a house that my boss rented to me for $700.00

Customer Question

I'm living in a house that my boss rented to me for $700.00 a month he let's me be a little late on my rent but he gets it every month my problem is about 5 months ago, a section in my kitchen ceiling fell in he told me he would get it fixed and hasn't. As a result of the ceililng falling in, I have a major rat problem. There are at least three rats in my house. Unfortunately it does not state in my lease that he has to pay for their removal. I believe that if it wasn't for the hole in my ceiling, and his delinquent actions, this would not be the issue. What should I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CALawyer replied 8 years ago.
This sounds like a somewhat touchy situation since you are renting from your boss. Taking that into account, I can tell you what the law says, but you will want to consider whether it is worth it to you to have bad blood with your boss.

The law says that there is an implied warranty of habitability in any residential rental contract. That means that the landlord, by renting the place out to you, has given you a warranty that it is fit for humans to live in. Its basically a warranty against conditions like this (the falling cieling, rats, etc.). Its pretty clear that this is the landlord's responsibility legally.

The first approach that most people take to this type of situation is to contact their local code enforcement. Code enforcement can issue a citation to the landlord that requires them to fix the problem. The landlord isn't allowed legally to take any retaliatory action for reporting them. Jefferson Parish code enforcement can be reached at either(NNN) NNN-NNNN or(NNN) NNN-NNNN

However, that doesn't mean that it won't create bad blood or they won't try to do something, it just means that if they do it is illegal.

If this information was helpful, please click ACCEPT to give me credit for answering. Bonuses and positive feedback are appreciated if deserved. If you need any clarification, just post a reply. Thanks!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

So can I hire an exterminator to take care of my rat problem or will I have to pay for that myself


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

So does that mean I will be able to hire an extermanitor or will I have to pay for that


Expert:  GWarren Customer Advocate replied 8 years ago.
Noticing that you are the young mother of three and that the expert lawyer who provided the initial correct answer has opted out from further dialogue, I offer the following to assist you and your family:

You do not indicate whether you have a written lease agreement with your boss or whether you rent on a verbal month to month lease. That information may help our review, especially if you have a written lease that sets forth responsibilities.

Although the ceiling collapsed about five (5) months ago, if the rat problem occurred recently and was not previously present, you may want to assume the responsibility to hire an exterminator to rid your family from the danger of rats (and the exposure to your children). There could be an argument that food or other arrangements attracted the rodents when they were not previously present, which may make you rather than the landlord responsible for the cost of their extermination.

A frank conversation with your boss should be held to discuss the repairs to the ceiling and the extermination expense. You do not indicate whether the $700 you are being charged each month is below the rental market in the area you live and whether his forgiveness of late payments is also an accommodation to you. If your boss is providing you a financial benefit by providing the rental housing at a reduced price, it may provide additional incentive for you to assume the cost of extermination of the rodents as pests. A primary concern is the health and safety risk to you and your family.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your boss and you do not want to assume the cost of extermination, as CALawyer indicated you can contact Code Enforcement, however, prior to that call you may want to talk with the local health department concerning these issues.

Public Health Department XXXXX
Marrero, LA 70072 (NNN) NNN-NNNN (NNN) NNN-NNNN - West Bank

Another option:
Following is a link to landlord tenant issues prepared by the New Orleans Bar Association that addresses the tenant's right to repair and be reimbursed from the landlord or the right to deduct the amount of repairs from the rent:

"May I withhold payment of rent because of the disaster or because the landlord has failed to timely repair the dwelling after the disaster? No. Louisiana law prohibits a tenant from withholding rent on grounds of unhabitability. If, after the disaster, neither the tenant nor the landlord has terminated the lease because the dwelling is totally unusable, the tenant has the right to repair with immediate reimbursement from the landlord or the right to deduct the amount from the payment of rent if the landlord does not timely repair. La. Civ. Code art. 2694. "

The repair and deduct provisions of the Louisiana Civil Code are discussed in the following legal assistance guide:

I hope this information is helpful and worthy of your Accepting it. It is not intended to be nor should it be construed as legal advice. If you need further clarification, please let me know.