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Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
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Are landlords required by law to disclose to potential tentants

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Are landlords required by law to disclose to potential tentants they have a bed bug problem in the building? Even if it is in a unit that you are not thinking of renting?
Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be the attorney assisting you.

Yes. Bed bugs or an infestation of any insects is a breach of the warranty of habitability.

The warranty of habitability is a legal doctrine that requires landlords to offer and maintain livable premises for their tenants. If a landlord fails to provide habitable housing, tenants in most states may legally withhold rent or take other measures, including fixing the problem and deducting the cost from the rent, or moving out.

Conditions that make a rental unit legally uninhabitable

There are many kinds of defects that could make a rental unit unlivable. The implied warranty of habitability requires landlords to maintain their rental units in a condition fit for the "occupation of human beings " In addition, the rental unit must "substantially comply" with building and housing code standards that materially affect tenants' health and safety.

A landlord’s lease cannot avoid the implied warranty habitability - nor can the tenant waive the implied warranty of habitability.

A rental unit may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it contains a lead hazard that endangers the occupants or the public, or is a substandard building because, for example, a structural hazard, inadequate sanitation, or a nuisance endangers the health, life, safety, property, or welfare of the occupants or the public.

A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:

Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system
Gas facilities in good working order.
Heating facilities in good working order.
An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, vermin AND an infestation of insects (ie. bed bugs, cock roaches, etc.).
Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.

The tenant may do one or a combination of the following:

1) Move out and terminate the lease: If the landlord does not make the repairs within a reasonable time the tenant may move out and terminate the lease.
2) Repair and deduct: The tenant can make the repairs himself and deduct the repair costs from the next month's rent. The repairs cannot cost more than one months rent to utilize this option.
3) Sue for damages: The tenant may sue the landlord for damages from the date of the landlord’s knowledge of the breach of warranty of habitability. The measure of damages is generally the difference between the value of the rented premises in its uninhabitable condition and its fair market rental value.
4) Sue to force the landlord to make repairs: The tenant can get a court order forcing the landlord to make the repairs. Courts are unlikely to utilize this option because it involves costly court supervision to ensure the repairs have been made.
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