Can I Break My Lease Due to Mice Infestation?

Mice infestations cause several headaches for both tenants and landowners. In the event of an infestation, it can be difficult to decide whether to break or terminate your lease since a lot of factors contribute to the decision. This can be problematic once you start experiencing more serious problems like health hazards and damage to your personal belongings. 

So can you break your lease due to a mice infestation? The answer is that it depends on what state you live in because rental laws can vary per state. So if you’re residing in a state that allows it, then you can break your lease. However, it can also depend on your lease agreement and whether the landlord can prove that the tenant is responsible for the infestation.

Pest Control Laws Vary Per State

One of the first things to keep in mind when deciding to break your lease due to a mice infestation is that pest control laws vary per state, so check the law beforehand. This helps you sort through the ins and outs of the problem, and help you decide on what actions to take in case you face a rodent infestation. 

For example, in New York the law states that the tenant is responsible to keep their unit dry and clean to prevent pest infestations. Tenants are also supposed to contact the landlord when they notice any leaks, molds, or pests in the apartment. On the other hand, landlords are responsible to perform annual inspections for indoor allergen hazards and to respond to hazards reported by the tenants. So if a landlord fails to address these hazards, then the tenant can legally break or terminate their lease. 

In California, the law allows tenants to break or terminate their lease if the apartment or rental unit becomes uninhabitable which includes any rodent infestations which can be a health hazard for the tenants. This means that any pest infestation, including rodents, is a landlord’s responsibility. However, if a tenant is proven to be the cause of the problem, the landlord can attempt to have the tenant pay for pest control and any other fees. 

What to Do When a Mice Infestation Occurs

It’s important to perform the necessary actions when faced with a mice infestation to prevent any further problems from happening. Here’s what to do when you experience this issue in the apartment or rental property: 

1. Inform Your Landlord

When you experience a mice infestation while renting out a property, you have to inform your landlord as soon as possible. This allows them to perform the measures and actions to address the problem. When you’ve given your landlord enough time to address the infestation but they still haven’t done anything about it, then this can be a reason for you to break or terminate the lease. 

2. Check Your Lease

The next action to take after finding out about a mice infestation is to check your lease agreement. The agreement or contract usually indicates what you can do about the problem and prevent any confusion about how to handle rodent infestations. 

This part of the lease agreement also usually indicates what happens during the aftermath of an infestation, and who’s responsible for the issue. For example, the lease agreement can state who’s responsible for cleaning any rodent droppings or urine pillars that rats or mice leave in an apartment or rental unit.

3. Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Lastly, you should know and understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. 

Generally, landlords are responsible for maintaining the apartment in livable condition. For example, if a rental unit is prone to an infestation because they are located near a big field, then the landlord is responsible for keeping the rental units pest-free and checking whether rodents have made their way into the property. 

Additionally, tenants are responsible to keep their places clean and sanitized. A tenant who fails to keep their place clean may be the reason for an infestation. If this is the case, it usually becomes the tenant’s responsibility to address the problem. The tenant may have to pay for extermination fees or any additional fees that incur for the issue. 

Pest Control Laws in California

California has Civil Code 1942 which provides answers on what to do during a mice infestation and whether you can break your lease due to the said problem. As mentioned above, Californian tenants are allowed to legally break or terminate their lease when their rental unit or apartment becomes uninhabitable. 

According to Civil Code 1942, the tenant is required to give a written or oral notice to the landlord about the dilapidations that render the premises untenantable. If the landlord neglects to perform the necessary actions, then the tenant may repair the damages himself and the cost of the repairs would be deducted from the rent paid if the total cost is less than a month’s rent.

But if a tenant doesn’t want to do the repairs themselves, Civil Code 1942 states that “the tenant may vacate the premises, in which case the tenant shall be discharged from further payment of rent, or performance of other conditions as of the date of vacating the premises.”

Pest Control at Pinnacle Pest Control

If your rental is infested with mice, then the best solution to the problem is to call for professional pest control services. Here at Pinnacle Pest Control, we utilize the latest technology to help eliminate any mice or rats in your property. Our team is dedicated to offer the best service to all our clients in Northern California. 

We have experts who will thoroughly inspect your rental and provide further suggestions on how to prevent infestations. Pinnacle Pest Control is more than eager to answer any questions or inquiries you have about pest control and our services. You may call us today to know more. 

Read more: Pest Control Vs. Exterminator: What’s the Difference?

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