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My apartment has roaches; can I break my lease?

It is fairly common among tenants to break down the lease when their problems are not adequately solved. However, some problems are not considered genuine enough by the rule of law to break down a contract immediately. Therefore, it may land you in hot water with a hefty fine and hurt your credit score.

Yes! You can immediately break the lease if the roach infestation involved the whole residential complex before you moved in. However, it is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to prove a pre-existing infestation to the jury. Therefore, better solve the problem by talking to your landlord and sharing your concerns about roach infestation.

It is not as simple as it sounds to break a lease in case of a vermin infestation immediately. Therefore, try to talk to the residents and neighbors about a pre-existing roach infestation when moving in. Moreover, the lease should include a clause obligating the property owner to clear any infestation.

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3. Pet Safe Killers (Uses Essential Oils)
4. Ortho Defence Outdoor Roach Killer (Prevent Roaches)

Are cockroaches a landlord’s responsibility?

It is pretty common for tenants to encounter a roach infestation when they have moved in. However, we often do not know how to get rid of roaches from electronics, furniture, car & clothing before we move?. Therefore, we bring in infestation along with us.

The tenant must thoroughly look for orderliness and infestation before signing a contract. This is because, once the old tenant has moved out, it’s the responsibility of the landlord to clean the apartment and exterminate an infestation.

Once the tenant has moved in, cockroaches are no more the responsibility of the landlord unless the problem involves the whole building (got infestation from your neighbors).

Breaking a Lease Due to Cockroaches

Once you are sure about an established roach infestation, you have the following options,

  1. Live with an infestation
  2. Exterminate roaches by your self
  3. Breaking the lease

Breaking the lease because of an infestation is not an easy option because proving it in a court of law is often tricky. However, if you talk with the landlords about your concerns, most of them will understand. After all, no one wants to lose a tenant.

Here it is how to break a lease due to cockroaches,

Step 1: Keep the records

Keeping the record will make your case strong. Always video tap roach or their products using your mobile phone camera and share it with the property owner.

Step 2: Talk to the landlord

It is better to solve your roach problem informally. As discussed above, most landlords will listen to your problems carefully and try to solve them by asking for professional exterminators. In case it is a building-wide problem, try to involve your neighbors.

Step 3: Write a formal request

Once you have informally informed the landowner, the next step is to write an email or a letter to the owner mentioning the last informal meeting. Ask for solutions and tell about breaking the lease.

Step 4: Consult a lawyer

After all your hard work, if the property owner is still not serious about helping you, it’s your legal right to consult a lawyer. Tell about your concerns and show the attorney the letters and video recordings. If your case is strong, go for legal action and ask for compensation against the mental stress you have been facing.

If you don’t have any other option and still want to move out because of a roach infestation. You need to give a prior 28 days notice on the last day of the month and terminate the contract.

What to do if you can’t break your lease?

Most of the time, proving a pre-existing infestation is very difficult in a court of law. Therefore, If your lawyer tells you that your case is not strong enough to warrant legal action, you can,

Option 1: Exterminate the roaches by yourself

Exterminating roaches is not that hack of a job if carried out carefully. I suggest you try at least once before moving out. You will be amazed how quickly you can do the job all by yourself.

All you need to do is read this article: How to get rid of Roaches in the apartment?

Option 2: Ask for professional help

If you are least interested in exterminating roaches, you should ask a professional exterminator to help you.

A good exterminator should,

  1. analyse the level of infestation
  2. start with using traps to catch the free roaming roaches to clear the area
  3. apply Gel Baits in very small quantities in every possible hiding place
  4. apply powder baits behind appliances which are hard to reach
  5. use harmone regulator to limit roach growth

Option 3: Terminate the contract

If nothing is working for you, it is your legal right to terminate the contract. All you need to do is inform the landlord about terminating the contract 28 days in advance. You must tell them on or before the last day of the month.

Additional Read!