Can repeated cockroach problems void a lease?

By Tenant

My relative signed a one year lease on an apartment, and became unable to continue living here so we worked it out with the property agency that I would move in and assume the lease.  While my relative was here I found a cockroach and the landlords had the apartment sprayed. Before I moved in, I was assured that the roaches were taken care of. Wrong! They just  sprayed again (the 2nd time in around 3 months).  They only sprayed 5/10 of the units, so I am figuring the bugs will go to the unsprayed apts and come back when the chemicals wear off. When I called the landlord to tell them about the last roach sighting, the man acted like it was no big deal and calmly notified me that bedbugs have also been a problem here..but he "assured" me that it was nothing to worry about right now because it usually isn’t a problem until the spring and summer.  I have asthma and had to stay out for 4 hours plus many more hours for it to air out. The place still smells and there is a filmy residue on everything I was unable to cover, and the smell was also absorbed by everything in cupboards. I am a laid off college student with a limited income and can’t afford to keep washing everything at the laundromat. I would also like to be able to sleep peacefully again instead of worrying about all of this! The lease is co-signed by a 3rd relative, so I do not want to just leave and ruin his credit. Can I legally get out of this lease without ruining anyones credit and get my deposit back because of bugs?? How do I go about doing it? Is there a proper procedure? Merry Christmas and Thanks for reading this.

Edited on: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 1:43 pm

4 Responses to “Can repeated cockroach problems void a lease?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


December 29th, 2009 9:40 am

To get out of a lease due to bug infestation can be possible, but will require some type of legal help. The problem is that you even stated that the landlord has already sprayed to separate times– so its not like the landlord isn’t working with you to resolve the problem. Sounds more like you can’t afford to live there because you are now a “Laid off college student” as you said in your post.

I my opinion, you don’t really have a case against your landlord to terminate your lease. It sounds like he has been helping and trying to resolve the problem.


December 29th, 2009 11:14 am

I CAN afford this place, I was a laid off college student prior to moving here and made sure I had enough to pay my bills before signing the lease. In fact, it is going to cost me more to move to another place, as this one is is the least expensive around and has the most utilities, etc included in the rent (and its nicer then a few others I have seen).

The problem is living with the cockroaches / impending bedbugs along with the risk of transporting them to other people’s homes when I visit or they visit me… the $50 & 5 hours of labor that it cost me to rewash all of my clothing and bedding at the laundromat… the cost of purchasing and the hassle of living out of plastic tubs to prevent my things from being re-infested… and the worst part is that my asthma has kicked in from the chemicals being sprayed here (they are setting off more again today). I have not had asthma problems in many years, so now I have the extra cost of the doctor and medicine for treatment.

I am also not thrilled about having to move again so soon and I can’t afford to pay for two places each month until this lease runs out. The handyman does the spraying, not a professional exterminator, and I have been told that this has been a regular occurrence for many years. I don’t think it was ethical of the landlord to continue renting apartments without warning future tenants of the bugs/chemicals first. They own all of their buildings free and clear, so the loss of rental income won’t hurt them with the bank.

New opinion here!

January 27th, 2011 6:18 pm

You have rights!! This is what you do. Contact the LA Health County for your area for them to check and verify (In writing) that there is an infestation. Once you have that, it is considered inhabitable to live there. You can then get out of your lease once you give them 30 days notice. Also, another way to get out of your lease is to say you don’t have money to pay the rent…see how fast they react when you don’t have money. If you’ve been sick, get a dr’s note and any other evidence to support how unhealthy it is to reside there. Good luck, if you’ve haven’t already gotten out of there.

So many damn landlords/managers lie and (BIND YOU TO A YEAR CONTRACT) and say they’ve taken care of pests–RUN the other way! Same thing happened to me. Ask questions first, check for dead roaches before signing lease.


November 23rd, 2013 8:13 pm

I’m in a similar situation I was suppose to move in yesterday but I found dead cockroaches and live ones around the living room and kitchen area. This morning I went to go look and there were some moving in daylight. I wasn’t aware of such infestation and have bad allergies and semi-asthmatic when it comes to chemicals and dirty things. I haven’t moved in due to worries of becoming a spreader. The company didn’t tell me about the infestation and I believe the agent is a nice person and I can’t fully blame them since they just acquired the property but they should’ve told me about the infestation prior of signing a lease and not finding out about the problem on move in. The chemicals were harsh and I just walked out and locked up and contacted the agent about it and now I want out. I live in MS and trying to find ways to get out of the lease legally without losing too much money.


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