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Tenant v Landlord. Bed bugs. Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA |

I moved into my apartment last spring (2011). Upon initial walk-through/inspection I saw no sign of bed bugs. As a part of my lease agreement I signed a bed bug memorandum agreeing that I may need to dispose of items in case of a bed bug infestation which I signed. In september I discovered bed bugs and immediately informed the management. The company they went with did 3 treatments over a 4 week period but informed me that there would still be live bugs after the first two treatments. I spoke with another tenant who informed me that in the months before I moved in the management issued a letter to the tenants announcing a current bed bug infestation which I had not been informed of at the time of move in. Can I break my lease without paying the fee and without giving the months notice?

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Attorney answers 1


Oh, even better, you can get relocation money for this. Here is how you do it: Start with a letter to your landlord stating what you said here. Then go on line to the City of Seattle's Building and Land Use Department and file a complaint on the Code Violation page. Then you need to cooperate with the City Inspector to get an inspection set up. If the City agrees with you, your landlord is going to have to pay you three month's rent, plus any pre-paid rent and your deposit in certified funds within seven days so you can move. Don't forget to inventory and ask for replacement costs for your upholstered furniture, which you can't take with you because it probably has bedbugs in it.

The RLTA says that contract provisions that are inconsistent with the RLTA are "void as against public policy and shall be unenforceable" see RCW 59 18 230. You are not responsible for controlling infestations, the landlord is, and they cannot change the law to suit themselves no matter what your contract says.

I have a legal guide linked to my page on this subject and I hope it helps you.

Elizabeth Powell

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