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A landlord must provide a habitable living space

One of the obligations of a landlord is to provide a habitable living space to the tenant.   One of the ways in which he must do this is to provide premises free of rubbish, filth, vermin or bug infestation. Bedbugs are one of the nastiest infestations.   A tenant will be within his/her legal right to withhold rent when the landlord doesn’t rectify a bug infestation such as bedbugs.

What can I do?

First, you must be able to prove that there are bedbugs in the house or apartment.   Secondly, you must give the landlord adequate notice so that he can do something about the problem in a timely manner.   You must also prove that you’ve suffered damages.

The landlord must cover the cost of bed bug treatment.  It is his legal obligation in terms of landlord-tenant laws.

How to deal with bed bugs

Everyone must work together.

If there were problems in the past, the landlord must educate tenants about bedbugs and about how to prevent an infestation.  Under new state law, landlords have to provide this information.   Some landlords in California are now voluntarily adding bed bug addendums to their lease contracts in order to be more open about the problem.

Tenants must notify their landlord immediately if they suspect a bed bug problem.   It is easier to manage an infestation in the early stages.   Tenants must also do their part in the treatment process.

Within two days of a bedbug complaint, a licensed pest control operator has to investigate the property.   In the case of an apartment building, the units above, below, next door and across the hall also have to be inspected.


An infected area can be treated with steam or pesticides.   The whole of the apartment can also be heated up to a lethal temperature.   In extreme cases, the whole building needs to be tented and fumigated.

The treatment of a bedbug infestation can cost a landlord anything from a few hundred up to thousands of dollars.   It is understandable that some of them will try to shift the blame to tenants themselves.

Speak to us.   We’ve handled these cases before.   The fact remains that landlords have to repair, at their own expense, problems that compromise habitability.    Let us help you see the forest for the trees.

Reach out to schedule a free consultation with us today. (818)507-8525;

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