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Can i sue my landlord for having bedbugs in my home and they arent doing anything to help?

Grand Rapids, MI |

I have bed bugs in my apartment and i didnt have them at my last apartment. I told the landlord right away and she said shed have an exterminator call me and id pay half if it was my fault which i know it wasnt. But there was no call from an exterminator at all. I bombed the place like 4 or 5 times now and spent over $200.00 on the process. They are still here. I told her i spent that much and they were still there and she said she would tell the owner that ive spent that much and they'd take care of it. Again, nothing. I havent heard a word from them since i went and talked to them. The bugs are still in my apartment and i am still being bitten. I dont want to spend anymore money and my landlord says they will help but they arent. What should i do? can i sue them?

Attorney Answers 2


Landlords in Michigan, and in most other states, have a duty to provide a "habitable" premises for their tenants. This is commonly called the "implied warranty of habitability."

An apartment that is infested with bedbugs may be considered a violation of this requirement, and the landlord would have a duty to remedy the infestation. If however, after they have been a notified and given a reasonable time to fix the problem the tenant has some additional options. One option is to not pay rent until the problem is solved. The second option is to pay to have the bedbugs taken care of and to deduct the costs from the rent that you pay. For both of these options there is the possibility will attempt to evict the tenant from the premises and the tenant would raise the bedbugs as a defense in the eviction action. In either case the tenant should put the withheld rent into a separate savings account and not spend it. This shows the judge in an eviction action that you aren't just trying to get out of paying your rent.

The final option is to leave the premises. The violation of the warranty of habitability would provide a defense against a suit by the landlord for the remainder of the rent that would have been due for the remaining term of the lease.

It sounds like you have notified the landlord of the issue; if you haven't done so in writing it would be prudent to do so. Below you can find two links from the state of Michigan and Michigan Legal Aid that may help you.

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The question relly is : Can you successfully sue the Landlord?
Of course you can sue as you are in privity of contract under the lease. The question for the trier of fact is : Were the bugs in place prior to your occupation or post occupation?

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