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Ask Andrea, Esq. Your Own Question
Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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The apt below me had bed bugs and the tenant attempted to self

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The apt below me had bed bugs and the tenant attempted to self treat before moving and notifying the landlord of the situation. Once notified they sent terminex to treat her unit. Thry sent me a letter stating the situation and saying they would check my unit and do preventative treatment on 5/1/13. When they came in they checked, didnt see anything and did no treatments. I asked if they were going to and they stated no even though the letter said they were going to.
Approximately 3 weeks later my son and gitlfriend began getting bit but thought they were mosquito bites. I have pics to show the extent. On june 6/17/13 he saw a bug on him and called bldg mgmt who came out and said it was bed bug.
It took them 4 days to come trreat my unit and retreated it 7 days later. The terminex lady stated she trrated the vents, ouylets and 2 beds that had the bed bugs but did noy treat the sofa or other furniture. I have been living in a hoyel ever since 6/17/13 and will not be using that furniture.
I believe the apt bldg is negligent by not doing the preventative treatment on 5/1/13 as stated.
I want out of my lease backdated to that point and reimbursement for the hotel and loss of furniture.
I live in Charles county Maryland. What are my chances?

Hi, Wanda, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provided you with Excellent Service

 

 

I am so sorry to hear of the bed bug situation, I hear they are really nasty little creatures,

 

 

Q. Who sent you the letter advising you of the situation and informing you that preventive treatment would be given, your landlord ? Or, Terminex ?

 

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my landlord sent letter

Thank you for your additional information, Wanda,

 

You asked,

 

"I believe the apt bldg is negligent by not doing the preventative treatment on 5/1/13 as stated. I want out of my lease backdated to that point and reimbursement for the hotel and loss of furniture.... What are my chances? "

 

 

Answer

 

The apartment building took a proactive approach in engaging Terminex to treat your apartment and sent you a letter to that effect and that is what Terminex was supposed to do. You stated, however, that the Terminex people did not treat the entire apartment the way that they were supposed to and did not treat the furniture. Therefore, in that regard, the Court would not find the apartment building negligent. Terminex is the party that was negligent and they should have known better, being experts in the field, that bed bugs generally infest furniture.

 

You should be awarded all costs you incurred in having to stay at a hotel because people cannot be in the area which is being treated for this type of infestation and you should be awarded your costs for furniture. I wish I could tell you that the Judge would allow you to leave the property without any further liability to the landlord, but I do not think the Judge will rule that way. The Judge will probably say that since the apartment has been completely treated and it is no longer infested, you would have to honor the balance of the lease term. I know exactly how you feel and I would not want to return to the apartment either. If I were in your situation, I would make every effort to negotiate with the landlord to allow me to vacate the apartment, even going to my doctor and having him write some kind of report that I could not remain in the apartment for some medical reason relating to the bed bugs or the type of chemicals that are used to treat the infestation. That way I would have a medical report as a "backup" reason for having to vacate the apartment for health reasons,

 

 

I realize that this is not exactly the Answer you were hoping for and it would have given me great pleasure to give you the Answer you wanted to hear, but I have an ethical obligation to you to give you only correct Answers and information, so I am respectfully asking that you not hold the law applicable to your situation against me,

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

terminex did what they instructed to do by the leasing manager the terminex agent told me verbatim that the landlord said if u dont see anything dont treat anything but the letter from the landlord to me stated that preventative treatment would be done and if evidence of bugs had been found on 5/1/13 more extensive treatment would be done.


this is why i believe the landlord is liable is this not correct

It becomes a "He said, she said" type thing where Terminex will blame the landlord and the landlord will blame Terminex. From the cases I have heard involving Terminex and the fact that the landlord put his agreement to treat the entire apartment in writing, I would be more inclined to believe the landlord in this instance. If the landlord did not want to be liable, he would not have put his agreement to have your apartment completely treated in writing. He could have given all affected tenants a verbal promise, then told Terminex not to treat every single room in an apartment. And, there have been many cases where Terminex was paid to do an entire property, but because there was nobody supervising their work, they would do the minimum amount of work, then claim payment for an entire property.

 

In order to be on the safe side, you could file a lawsuit for your damages and name both Terminex and the landlord as Defendants which you are allowed to do, then let them fight it out between themselves and the Judge can decide which one, or both will be liable to you for your damages,

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok i will do this bu the resident manager said they did not treat for prevention right in the rental office in front of several ppl. it was as if shewas not aware of what the letter said or that i still had it. i spoke withher after talking to terminex and she said we dont do preventative treatments we only treat if we see bed bugs so i never mentioned to her what the letter saud because i knew then her statements were contrary to the letter from equity mgmt


thx

Hi, Wanda, that is why I suggested naming both Terminex and the landlord as Defendants and the Judge can decide who is telling the truth and who should be responsible under the circumstances. In these cases, the Plaintiff is not at all at fault and the Court knows this. The Plaintiff, in essence, is telling the Judge,

 

"Your Honor, here are the facts, either the landlord is liable of Terminex is liable, or maybe they are both equally liable because they did not coordinate their efforts, but I know and you know that I am not liable, I suffered damages, and I am leaving it up to you, Your Honor, to determine which Defendant should pay me.......... "

 

Then the Judge decides, but whatever his decision, you will be awarded your damages. That is the safest way to go,

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

Andrea, Esq. and 4 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much


I assume this case should be filed in small claims court?

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