Your rights if your California apartment has bugs

If you rent an apartment in California, you may wonder what your rights are as a tenant and whether you can move out if you have an infestation of bugs. You might be able to do this legally with no additional obligations, but there are a few steps you must take first.

Establishing proof

While California landlords are generally responsible for pest control at any residential real estate property that they own, you can only break your lease without consequences if you did not cause the infestation. You also have to inform the landlord and give them the opportunity to remedy the problem. In case you and the landlord end up in a legal dispute over the issue, it is a good idea to try to document as much as possible, starting with evidence of the infestation. This might include photographs of the pests themselves and of any marks they leave on your skin or your belongings. You may also want to contact a professional pest control company to assess the extent of the problem.

Your landlord’s responsibilities

You then need to notify your landlord, and it is best to put this in writing. Your landlord has 30 days to remedy the problem. You can follow up by email and get updates, creating a paper trail. If your landlord has not addressed the problem in 30 days, you may be able to break your lease. You should put this in writing and let your landlord know that the legal remedy known as abandonment permits you to do this under state law.

If you are facing a dispute with a landlord over pests or other issues, you may want to consult an attorney. This can help you understand what your rights are and help ensure that you take the right steps. An attorney might be able to assist you in resolving issues privately or going to court if necessary.