Renter Resources  

Having Trouble with Roaches?

Picture yourself in your apartment, making dinner or relaxing on the couch when suddenly a cockroach crosses your path. Your initial reaction is that of fight or flight, but once you've handled the situation, you start to wonder what you're going to do to eliminate the problem. Do you call your landlord, pest control, or both?
Whose Your Landlord has all the answers as to whether or not you can withhold rent from your landlord for a roach infestation (or any infestation, for that matter) in your apartment. If your apartment has roaches and the infestation is due to natural circumstances, it's on your landlord to take care of the problem. The same can be said for infestations of spiders, mice, termites, ants, rats, wasps, and even bedbugs. Typically, landlords of apartments that are prone to these problems will include an arrangement for seasonal maintenance in the rental agreement. Technically this covers you in the event of a pest issue, but that doesn't guarantee the landlord will oblige when the time comes.

Here's what to do if your apartment becomes infested with roaches or pests:

Let your landlord know

As with any similar situation where your apartment suddenly becomes "uninhabitable," you need to inform your landlord or building manager in writing first. Making them aware of the situation and documenting your communication will only help you down the line if the problem persists.

Call pest control

Pest control can be costly, but if you want to continue your current living situation, you'll need someone to come out and bomb your apartment to rid it of roaches. Technically this cost should be covered by your landlord, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Check your rental agreement just to be sure. If you end up paying, you can always invoice your landlord at a later time.

Take legal action

In a situation where your landlord doesn’t do anything about your pest problem, your next steps are determined by the state in which you live. Contact your local housing authority or a representative of the law to find out the best course of action for filing a lawsuit against your landlord. To put it plainly and simply, you really can't withhold rent from your landlord because your apartment is infested with roaches (or any other critters). Doing so will only get you evicted, or worse - sued. Instead, take our recommended courses of action to solve the problem as painlessly as possible. Note that if you're the cause of the infestation (think messy living conditions that pests love, created by you not keeping your apartment clean, not taking the trash out, leaving food exposed, the list goes on and on), you won't be reimbursed or helped out with your pest problem. In the worst cases, you won't get your security deposit back.
In any situation where you feel like withholding rent is the answer, know that there are other options first. Stay tuned to Whose Your Landlord for all the best advice when it comes to withholding rent from your landlord. If you have questions or concerns, drop a line below.