Pest Infestation
Bed Bugs, Cockroaches, Rodents

California law requires landlords and owners of residential rental properties to maintain a dwelling that is habitable, or livable, and pests are not part of any habitable space. Pest-infested homes can have a number of adverse consequences for tenants and their families, possibly causing physical injuries, emotional distress and financial losses, to name a few. If your home is infested with pests and your landlord or property owner has failed or refused to do something about it, contact our knowledgeable tenants’ rights attorneys at DAG Law Firm, APC today.

1) Understanding your rights

Landlord-tenant conflicts are not unusual, and while these issues can often be resolved without the aid of an attorney, a property owner’s refusal to properly treat a pest infestation in your apartment complex calls for the help of an experienced tenant rights attorney. Not only it is the legal obligation of California landlords to treat a pest infestation, it is against the law for them to threaten to evict or otherwise retaliate against tenants who complain about pest infestations. Some landlords may refuse to pay for extermination services or may try to pass off the cost of infestation treatment on to the tenant, but know that that is a direct violation of the landlord’s duty to maintain a livable rental property.

Understanding your rights under California law is imperative if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones from unnecessary harm at the hands of a dishonest or unscrupulous landlord. Our attorneys at DAG Law Firm, APC have an intimate understanding of the intricacies of California housing laws and the rights of tenants to habitable housing, and we can help you stand up to your landlord and pursue the compensation you deserve for any injuries you suffer as a result of a bug infestation.

2) Types of Pest Infestations

An apartment complex pest infestation is a housing code and health code violation, one that can significantly affect your quality of life and your family’s health and well-being. Although bed bugs have emerged as the most devastating pest infestation in recent years, there are various types of infestations that can render your apartment uninhabitable, including the following:

  • Ants
  • Bed Bugs
  • Bees
  • Beetles
  • Cockroaches
  • Crickets
  • Flies
  • Lice
  • Mosquitos
  • Spiders

3) Damages Resulting from a Pest Infestation

There are strict laws in place in California that require your landlord to provide you with a sanitary living environment free of bugs, and when this legal duty is violated, you are the one who suffers the consequences. Unfortunately, many residents living in bug-infested apartments have nowhere else to go and are too afraid of being evicted to demand that their landlord address the issue. Even when landlords do take the proper steps to address a bug infestation, ridding an apartment complex of bugs is no easy task. Tenants with bed bug infestations, for example, essentially have to move out of their apartments so they can be fumigated and then move back in afterwards, sometimes multiple times if the first few rounds of treatment don’t work.

In the case of a bed bug infestation, affected tenants must strip their beds of sheets and blankets, empty their dressers and closets, clear all of their shelves, wash and dry their clothes and seal them in plastic bags, and move everything else into their bathroom or kitchen. In some instances, tenants will have to dispose of items that are infested with bugs, often furniture, clothing or bedding, and purchase replacements. And tenants who are forced to relocate temporarily or move out for good are faced with the task of finding a new place to live, which can be a financial burden as well as a considerable source of stress. Some possible damages resulting from a bug infestation include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bug bites or stings
  • Cost of a hotel stay
  • Emotional distress
  • Financial loss
  • Having to find a new place to live
  • Humiliation
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Past rent
  • Property damage
  • Sleeplessness

4) Compensation for Pest Infestations

The long-term consequences of an apartment complex pest infestation are considerable. Even if the pests in your apartment don’t cause you and your loved ones any physical harm, the infestation can lead to lasting emotional distress due to ongoing anxiety, as well as significant financial losses if you have to move to a new apartment or stay in a hotel while your apartment is being fumigated. In 2017, the Plymouth West apartments in Long Beach suffered a bed bug infestation that was particularly difficult to resolve, and one woman had to treat her apartment seven times to eradicate the pests. For tenants dealing with physically and emotionally devastating pest infestations, compensation may be available through a legal claim. In April 2018, a California jury awarded 1.6 million in damages to the family of a three-year-old who was left with permanent scars from bed bug bites caused by an infestation in their apartment.