I have an indoor cat who never goes outside and always wears a flea collar. During the year my cat and the apartment became infested with fleas. When i moved out the apartment was still infested. My landlord held me liable for the $300 extermination fee, although this is a basement apartment and bugs are unavoidable. For example, one morning i awoke to find swarm of 200+ ants in my living room, which were after nothing in particular, and i killed and never saw again, the point is bugs are regular. Does the fact that i have a cat prove that i am responsible for causing the fleas? What if the fleas originated in the apartment, my cat never left the apartment. Isn't the burden of proof on the landlord?
Im am proposing that under the housing maintenance code sub-chapter 2 article 4, the landlord is liable for extermination fees.
that is a short paragraph of the law.
Although, the lease states; "tenant assumes risk of...infestation...releases the landlord from liability".
I am wondering if this is a valid clause to include in the lease, since it limits the liability of the landlord and waives a tenant right, is it enforcable?
Also, would liability include indirect damages such as lost rent revenue stemming from an infestation. In addition, does assuming risk equate to assuming liability?
Now there is $200 which is withheld for lost rent. He claims that because of the fleas he lost his tenant and he wants me to pay for the lost revenue. This is the larger point, because im afraid that a counterclaim might result in me losing even more money if this principle is valid. Further, he claims that there are fleas in other parts of the building. Doesn't this mean that it is likely that the fleas didn't originate in my apartment? The neighbor has a dog as well.
All of these charges were made after my lease term was over, is that enforcable? The lease states that "outstanding charges...will be deducted from the deposit". Is this a legal clause?
How well can i expect the landlord to know his own lease?
He is being represented by a small law firm while i have no representation although i am pre-law.
Do i have a case? $500 seems like a lot to lose for $300 in extermination fees for a basement apartment