California law requires landlords and owners of residential rental properties to maintain a dwelling that is habitable, or livable, and pests are not part of any habitable space. Unfortunately, not all landlords pay attention to the law, and a significant shortage of decent, affordable housing in Orange County and throughout Southern California means some tenants are desperate enough to accept substandard living conditions if it means having a roof over their heads. As a tenant in California, it is your basic right to live in a safe and sanitary apartment complex, and if your landlord violates this right, you may be able to sue for damages. There is a statute of limitations on claims involving apartment complex bug infestations in Orange County, so don’t wait to hire an attorney to represent your case. Contact our skilled tenants’ rights lawyers at DAG Law Firm as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Affordable Orange County Bug Infestation Attorney
Not only is it not right, it is against the law for landlords in Orange County to rent residential properties that fail to meet the strict standards of habitability set forth in California’s housing regulations, and it is also illegal for landlords to evict, threaten to evict or otherwise retaliate against tenants who demand the basic standard of living they are entitled to. When suing your landlord for failing to maintain a habitable dwelling for yourself and your family, it helps to have an experienced attorney on your side who can inform you of your rights under California law and help you navigate the intricacies of the legal system. Our tenants’ rights lawyers at DAG Law Firm believe no one in Orange County should live in a space that endangers their health or safety, including one infested with bugs, and our legal team will help you fight for your right to fair and timely compensation for any bug infestation injuries you sustained.
Types of Apartment Complex Bug Infestations
A bug infestation can spell disaster for your apartment, your health and your personal belongings. And while a quick intervention can usually take care of the problem, some landlords refuse to spend the money to treat an infestation, or try to blame tenants for the pests, which may allow the infestation to persist and eventually get out of control. Bed bugs have emerged recently as the most common culprit in apartment complex bug infestation claims, but there are other types of pests that can cause tenants significant physical, emotional and financial harm. Some common types of bug infestations in Orange County include:
- Bed bugs
Bug infestations that aren’t treated right away can become worse and may even put the health and well-being of tenants at risk.
Damages Resulting from a Bug Infestation in Orange County
Owners of apartment buildings and condo complexes in Orange County owe a legal duty of care to tenants to provide a living environment that is devoid of potentially hazardous problems and unsanitary conditions, including bug infestations. Unfortunately, many property owners and landlords fail to inspect for bug infestations between tenants, and even those who become aware of an infestation may not take the necessary steps to eradicate the pests. Slum landlords in Orange County who don’t give much thought to the health or safety of tenants and who refuse to spend money on repairs or other issues that may legally render their property uninhabitable, may not think twice about renting an apartment that is infested with bugs if it means more money in their pocket.
If you become aware of a bug infestation in your apartment complex, you do have rights. If you find out before your move-in date that your Orange County apartment is infested with bugs, you have the right to put off moving in until the problem is resolved, or to refuse to move in at all and demand your security deposit be refunded. If a bug infestation occurs after you have already moved in, you have a duty to notify the landlord or property owner in a timely manner so the infestation can be treated. If your landlord refuses to address the problem, or tries to make you pay the cost of extermination, you have several options. Under California tenants’ rights laws, you can legally: move out without notice, withhold rent, “repair and deduct” the cost of the treatment from your monthly rent, notify state or local health inspectors, or sue your landlord for damages.
Determining Liability in an Apartment Complex Bug Infestation
All tenants and landlords have certain rights and responsibilities under California law, and any violation of these rights or responsibilities on the part of a tenant or landlord is a breach of their legal duty. According to California housing regulations, owners of residential rental properties in Orange County have a legal responsibility to maintain a living environment that is clean and “in a condition fit for human beings to live in.” If your landlord fails to take reasonable steps to address a bug infestation in your apartment complex, he or she is in violation of California building and housing codes and may be liable for any damages resulting from the infestation. Most bug infestation claims in Orange County are based on negligence, or a property owner’s failure to use reasonable care, resulting in injury or harm to a tenant. In order to prove negligence in a bug infestation case, you must prove that:
- The property owner or landlord owed a duty to provide a habitable living environment devoid of bug infestations;
- The defendant breached this duty by failing to address a bug infestation;
- The breach of the duty resulting in injuries to the victim, such as bug bites, infestation of personal items and property damage; and
- The injuries were significant.
Seeking Compensation for an Orange County Bug Infestation
When you rent an apartment in California, you expect that it will be a safe and sanitary place to live and you pay rent each month to a landlord who is required by law to make sure your apartment is livable when you move in and stays that way until you move out. In fact, whether your landlord knows it or not, he or she has promised you a safe, livable place simply by renting it to you, and if that promise is violated, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- The cost of a hotel stay
- Past rent
- Cost of future treatment
- Lost wages from time off work
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring
- Property damage
You may also be able to pursue punitive damages against your landlord. Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant and force a change in business practices so as to avoid any future negligent or wrongful action.
Free Bug Infestation Consultation in Orange County
Substandard housing is a significant issue in Orange County, and poorly-maintained apartments infested with bed bugs or other pests do not meet the “implied warranty of habitability” doctrine California law requires of all individuals renting residential properties. If you and your loved ones are living in an unsafe or uninhabitable apartment complex in Orange County, and your landlord refuses to address the issue of a bug infestation or another problem that adversely affects your health or safety, it is your right to sue your landlord for damages to cover the cost of medical bills, emotional trauma and moving expenses. Contact our knowledgeable tenants’ rights attorneys at DAG Law Firm today to find out whether you have a legitimate claim.