'bed bug rider' on a lease? can landlords do that?!(7 posts)
I'm having a horrible day.
For the past few nights, I've been getting bitten 10-15 times a night and thought it was mosquitos - until this morning when I found an adult bed bug crawling across my sheets. (and yes, I have kept it although it's a little squashed)
I immediately emailed my landlord who informed me that I'm am responsible for all extermination costs, as per the BED BUG RIDER IN MY LEASE.
To be honest, having moved here from California, I wasn't really aware of the bed bug issue in NYC and didn't go through my lease with as much care as I should have. BUT, given that the housing code stipulates that landlords are responsible for pest control, can they absolve themselves of all responsibility by just adding this rider to the contract?
My real concern is that, even if I pay for the exterminator, the bed bugs will just come back. I live in a very small West Village apartment where the plumping runs horizontally - so there's plenty of gaps for bed bugs to move about.
Any thoughts or advice?
Since you're in NYC, call Met Council on Housing.
They're also in the links page under landlord and tenant issues. They know the NYC laws well and give free information and advice to NYC tenants. This rider may be illegal. (IANAL: I am not a lawyer.)
If they can't help, a lawyer may still be able to.
I'm in Ontario, so the laws are likely different... but I'd suggest it is worth looking into because I know for a fact that in this province, anything written in a lease that isn't in agreement with the provincial tenancy act is null.
Hmm... I wasn't aware that landlords could do that but it sounds like he was aware of the problem in the building which is why he would put such a thing in lease. At the very least, you can challenge that he had knowledge of an infestation and failed to properly disclose all the details.
jonnyeye - you really need to speak to a lawyer about that rider - i would challenge the legal validity of it because ANY vermin infestatin is a direct violation of the habitability of warranty - which should be a clause is your lease.
that clause means that the landlord has a legal obligation to rent an apartment that is habitable and free of vermin - plus there is a lot of case law already established for rent reductions related to apartments that have a bedbug infestation
I also agree with RJ - a rider like that is highly unusual and is very suspect - for example - did he also make you sign a COCKROACH RIDER? or a SPIDER RIDER? no he had you sign a bed bug rider - which SMACKS of advance knowledge and in my opinoin (note: I AM NOT A LAWYER) and that is illegal.
there ought to be a special place in hell for people who knowingly rent out apartments that are infested.
The other thing you should do - sooner rather than later - is to talk to you neighbors and find out if this problem is widespread and if so - how widespread. if you have other people in the building with a problem - I would think you would have a better case for advanced knowledge of the problem - and also there is strength in numbers
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