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Do I need to pay for bed bug extermination in California as a tenant?

Santa Clara, CA |

I moved into a two bedroom apartment 3 months ago. My roommate had already been living there for some time. My roommate recently came up to me declaring he has bed bugs and that he would take care of it. An inspection confirmed that he had bed bugs.

However, I have never been bitten and haven't been able to find a single bug in my room. If anything, any new bugs would be coming from his already infested room.

My roommate then came up to me saying the landlord isn't going to pay for the extermination and proceeded to ask me for $400... which I can't afford. I did some looking around and found that the landlord has to keep the property "habitable." And since I only moved in 3 months ago and really only go to and from work, I didn't bring the bugs in.

So how can I take care of this issue?

Yes, the landlord consented to me moving in and we signed a 6 month lease together. We already have the extermination scheduled to take care of it. I read somewhere that from the California Civil Code Section 1942, the tenant can withhold rent to pay for the extermination? In other words, the money I would use to pay rent I would use to pay the exterminator instead?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Frankly, if I were you, I'd do whatever it takes to get rid of the bed bugs ASAP, and worry about splitting up the cost later. The habitability requirement is diminished if the tenant causes the lack of habitability. Unless the whole building is infested, this is probably something you and your infested roommate need to work out.

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Posted

Normally, the landlord is responsible for taking care of the bed bugs as part of the landlord's duty to maintain habitability. The only exception might be if the tenant caused the bed bug problem.

It is not clear here whether your roommate caused the bed bugs, nor is it clear why your roommate would declare that he would take care of this.

Did the landlord consent to you moving in?

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.

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Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Posted

You might be able to use the repair and deduct remedy but it requires specific compliance: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/repairs.shtml

Posted

While I cannot give you legal advice in this forum, it sounds as though the issue was caused by your roomate, not the landlord. Thus, the landlord would not be obligated to fix it for you. Get it done and work out a deal with your roomate. You should push your roomate to pay the entire amount.

THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED TO CONVEY GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON OR TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THIS RESPONSE IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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