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Landlord lied on lease about bed bug history

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Landlord lied on lease about bed bug history

Postby UPTownbugged » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:30 am

Hi everyone.

My roommate and I signed a lease in August 2016 which had the legally required disclosure of the buildings bed bug history attached to it. The landlord signed claiming that our apartment nor any other apartments in the building had history of bed bugs in the last year. We signed thinking nothing of it because they had told us the information they're required to. There is also a line in the lease about pest control where it states the management must have access to all apartments and common areas once a month to give treatments, because if everyone doesn't participate it's hard to control pest problems. This is great too. However, they never performed any pest treatments our first six months in the apartment. Fast forward to the beginning of February, my roommate found a bed bug on her wall. We called the mgmt and they scheduled an exterminator and we've now had two treatments since then. In that time, we found out that our next door neighbor in addition to several other apartments (that she knew of, maybe even more) had some bed bugs this past summer and the management told them to keep it quiet. We are very angry with the management because they lied to us on a signed form about the building history. We also contacted them this week to see if we could come to an agreement to end our lease early (may instead of August) and were essentially told "we can ask the landlord and he might agree if you stay until we find new tenants but he also is likely to say tough luck you signed a lease for a year pay up". If they hadn't violated terms in the lease (not performing pest control, lying about bed bug history) this would be easier to stomach. Is there anything we can do about this legally? We can't really claim the warranty of habitability is broken (as far as I understand) because they have actively sent exterminators and the apartment isn't extremely infested. Not sure what to do
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Re: Landlord lied on lease about bed bug history

Postby TenantNet » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:09 pm

On pest control, LLs are usually required to bring in exterminators every so often. In our experience, it's not that effective. We recently had an issue with mice. The exterminator put out glue traps that did nothing. I had the old spring mouse traps that were very effective. What matters is getting rid of vermin, not whether the exterminator shows up.

As for everyone giving access, well that probably depends on the type of pest or vermin. I doubt though they will bring the exterminator unless there are requests or complaints,

As for BB history, can you document the LL told the neighbors to keep quiet? That could establish fraud on the part of the LL. Will the other tenant be willing to sign and notarize an affidavit?

Understand, you can move whenever you wish. The problem is that the LL might come after you for the remaining rent. If they do, then you'll end up in court where you can fight it out. If you have sufficient evidence, they might fold. Depends on how litigious they normally are.

You would end up in Civil or Supreme Court, not Housing Court as the LL would be seeking rent, not possession.

Also understand that while you might be rid of the bugs, any new tenant will get them when they take occupancy. So make sure someone else has all your evidence before or if the LL demands you sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement. That third party can inform new tenants.

Make complaints with HPD (311). They have a dog they will bring out to sniff out the critters.

From my experience, I would not agree to any LL demand that you discard all your belongings. In some instances certain items like mattresses might be so infected they are beyond saving. But clothing can be saved by using hot water, freezing or other methods.

Be sure to keep track of damages ... anything you do toss out. That could be a counterclaim in any suit.

This IS INDEED a warranty of habitability issue. But if the bugs are gone, then the reason why you are leaving might be an issue.
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