Substandard housing is a major issue in Long Beach, California, and while poorly-maintained apartments are typically plagued by leaky pipes, mold, or peeling paint, many are also infested with bugs. Bug-infested apartments in Long Beach can have a number of adverse consequences for tenants and their families, possibly causing physical injuries, emotional distress and financial losses, to name a few. If your Long Beach apartment complex is infested with bugs and your landlord or property owner has failed or refused to do something about it, contact our knowledgeable tenants’ rights attorneys at DAG Law Firm today. We can help you understand your rights as a tenant in California and determine whether you have a legitimate claim against your landlord.
Affordable Long Beach Bug Infestation Attorney
Landlord-tenant conflicts are not unusual, and while these issues can often be resolved without the aid of an attorney, a property owner’s refusal to properly treat a bug infestation in your apartment complex calls for the help of an experienced tenants’ rights attorney. Not only it is the legal obligation of California landlords to treat a bug infestation, it is against the law for them to threaten to evict or otherwise retaliate against tenants who complain about bug infestations. Some landlords may refuse to pay for extermination services or may try to pass off the cost of infestation treatment on to the tenant, but know that that is a direct violation of the landlord’s duty to maintain a livable rental property.
Understanding your rights under California law is imperative if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones from unnecessary harm at the hands of a dishonest or unscrupulous landlord. Our lawyers at DAG Law Firm have an intimate understanding of the intricacies of California housing laws and the rights of tenants to habitable housing, and we can help you stand up to your landlord and pursue the compensation you deserve for any injuries you suffer as a result of a bug infestation.
Types of Apartment Complex Bug Infestations
Rental properties in California are required by law to be habitable when a tenant moves in, meaning the dwelling must comply with building codes, must not be in disrepair, must not put the tenant’s safety at risk, and must be free of any bug infestation. Bed bugs have emerged recently as the pest everyone is worried about encountering, but there are many different types of apartment complex bug infestations that can affect Long Beach residents, and any bug that takes up residence in your apartment is going to be an annoyance at the very least, or a health concern at the worst. Some common types of apartment complex bug infestations in Long Beach include:
- Bed bugs
Damages Resulting from a Bug Infestation in Long Beach
There are strict laws in place in California that require your landlord to provide you with a sanitary living environment free of bugs, and when this legal duty is violated, you are the one who suffers the consequences. Unfortunately, many Long Beach residents living in bug-infested apartments have nowhere else to go and are too afraid of being evicted to demand that their landlord address the issue. Even when landlords do take the proper steps to address a bug infestation, ridding an apartment complex of bugs is no easy task. Tenants with bed bug infestations, for example, essentially have to move out of their apartments so they can be fumigated and then move back in afterwards, sometimes multiple times if the first few rounds of treatment don’t work.
In the case of a bed bug infestation, affected tenants must strip their beds of sheets and blankets, empty their dressers and closets, clear all of their shelves, wash and dry their clothes and seal them in plastic bags, and move everything else into their bathroom or kitchen. In some instances, tenants will have to dispose of items that are infested with bugs, often furniture, clothing or bedding, and purchase replacements. And tenants who are forced to relocate temporarily or move out for good are faced with the task of finding a new place to live, which can be a financial burden as well as a considerable source of stress. Some possible damages resulting from a Long Beach bug infestation include:
- Bug bites or stings
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Cost of a hotel stay
- Having to find a new place to live
- Pain and suffering
- Financial loss
- Past rent
- Property damage
Determining Liability in an Apartment Complex Bug Infestation
Property owners are required by law to maintain a safe and sanitary living environment for tenants from the day they move in until the day they move out, and any refusal or failure to do so may result in a tenants’ rights claim being filed. Most tenants’ rights claims allege general negligence, violation of California health and safety codes, and breach of implied warranty of habitability against the landlord. In order to hold your landlord liable for damages associated with an apartment complex bug infestation, you must show the following: that defects exist that violate the landlord’s obligation to maintain a habitable rental (i.e. a bug infestation); that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the defects; and that you suffered damages as a result of the defects.
If you discover that your Long Beach apartment is infested with bugs before your move-in date, you have the right to not move in and demand your security deposit be refunded. Alternatively, you can request that your landlord deal with the infestation before your move in. If a bug infestation occurs after you’ve already moved in, your landlord is obligated to provide pest control and remedy any issues that may have led to the infestation, such as repairing a large crack in the wall that is letting in bees or cockroaches. If the infestation causes damage to your personal property, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses.
Seeking Compensation for a Long Beach Bug Infestation
The long-term consequences of an apartment complex bug infestation are considerable. Even if the bugs in your Long Beach apartment don’t cause you and your loved ones any physical harm, the infestation can lead to lasting emotional distress due to ongoing anxiety, as well as significant financial losses if you have to move to a new apartment or stay in a hotel while your apartment is being fumigated. In 2017, the Plymouth West apartments in Long Beach suffered a bed bug infestation that was particularly difficult to resolve, and one woman had to treat her apartment seven times to eradicate the pests. For tenants dealing with physically and emotionally devastating bug infestations in Long Beach, compensation may be available through a legal claim. In April 2018, a California jury awarded $1.6 million in damages to the family of a three-year-old who was left with permanent scars from bed bug bites caused by an infestation in their apartment.
Free Bug Infestation Consultation in Long Beach
Bug infestations tend to be worse in densely populated areas like Long Beach, where apartment complexes are crowded with units and a lot of people live close together. Infestations also tend to crop up in apartment complexes that are poorly maintained and in those run by slum landlords who refuse to spend money on repairs and other issues. If your family has been putting up with a bug infestation in your Long Beach apartment complex and your landlord refuses to address the problem, it’s time to stand up for your right to sanitary and habitable housing. Contact our tenants’ rights attorneys at DAG Law Firm today for legal help.