Does this constitute a breach of contract?

Asked about 4 years ago - Virginia Beach, VA

Our lease says that our landlord isn't responsible for seasonal bugs. We've had a roach problem, since we moved in in Aug. 2009. We have since called about this problem in Aug., Sept., Oct. 09, & Apr. 10. The landlord has paid all 4 times. This time they say they only pay once and the remainder of the maintenance is our responsibility. This is not in my lease (as 3/4 seasons, is obviously not seasonal). When I ask them to furnish a copy of this policy from our lease, they ignore my requests. Does them saying they only pay once and then paying 4 times negate the terms of the lease? Also, if this policy exists and I can't find it in my copy of the lease, shouldn't they have to show me where it is? Do we have terms to break the lease and get the heck outta there?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Sammid J Mansoor

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . First look for a definition of "seasonal" bugs in your lease. It probably doesn't contain one. This would make the contract ambiguous and give you a leg to stand on. Now explain to the landlord that he has certain covenants which are implied in law, and that he is in breach, specifically the covenant of quiet enjoyment.

    A covenant is a promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. The covenant of quiet enjoyment where landlord agrees that the tenant shall peaceably enjoy the premises he has leased. This covenant is breached by an entry, or lawful expulsion from, or some actual disturbance in, the possession.

    Since the roaches present an actual disturbance which interferes with your possession, because who wants to live (remain in possession) in a roach infested place, the landlord is in breach of this covenant. Send the landlord a letter that explains that this situation needs to be corrected and if not you are aware of your rights and will pursue a legal action against him. There is a letter at www.onlinevalegalforms.com under landlord tenant – “notice to landlord to make repairs”. This service will ask you to fill in a questionnaire, an attorney will review your complaint and draft your letter for you, and then you can download it and mail it to your landlord. Since calling the exterminator is cheaper than calling his lawyer it will probably resolve your problem. If it doesn’t feel free to call me and we can discuss possible remedies available to you.

    Good Luck and if you need further information, feel free to contact me.

    Sam Mansoor, Attorney
    Mansoor Law Firm, PLLC
    116R Edwards Ferry Rd NE
    Leesburg, VA 20176
    (703) 404-7733

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