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2007-07-24 12:00:00

Termites, Roaches and Ants - What Should a Landlord Do?

If we have to tent our building for termites, do we have to do anything for the tenants who are going to have to move out for two days and nights?

If your lease is silent, most courts would abate the rent for the time the tenant was out of possession. This is what most lease provisions state.

How can we determine if the roaches in the apartment were the result of bad housekeeping, or is it our responsibility?

Ask your pest control professional to give his or her opinion on how the roaches came into the apartment unit. The court will rely heavily on expert testimony in these cases.

If we are going to spray for ants around and in the building, do we have to give the tenants any kind of notice?

If the service is ongoing pursuant to a pest control contract, the landlord must give each new resident a copy of the initial notice the contractor provided to all tenants. This notice warns the tenants about the chemicals contained in the pest control used. If any modifications are made, the pest control company must provide new notices.

We were planning on having our building sprayed, but one of the residents says she has allergies and a respiratory condition and refuses to let us spray her unit? Can we force her to allow us to spray?

You have a right to protect your property from pest infestation, but you must provide her with reasonable accommodations for her disability. Offering her another unit or temporary living quarters until it is deemed safe to return may be required. If you offer to accommodate her in a motel or hotel, be sure you agree in writing on the amount of housing allowance ahead of time.

I have a rental house and the tenant says they have an ant problem and would like me to sign up for monthly spraying of the property. Nothing in the rental agreement says I am responsible for spraying. What do you think?

California state law requires all rental property owners to warrant the habitability of the premises. You are therefore required by law to act as a "reasonably prudent" rental property owner in the methodology of getting rid of the ant infestation. 

(LegalEase is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact the nearest office to discuss the facts of your particular situation. Kimball, Tirey & St. John makes no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, with regard to this information. Kimball, Tirey and St. John shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the use of any information herein contained.)

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