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  1. #1
    lsatjohn1990 is offline Junior Member
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    Liability for flea infestation:extermination charge and loss of next tenant

    New york
    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.
    [url]http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources…[/url]
    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
  2. #2
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsatjohn1990 View Post
    New york
    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.
    [url]http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources…[/url]
    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
    So by now you have read the landlord tenant law , right ?

    Any clauses that go against State law and landlord's duties are unenforceable .

    Of course a Judge would decide .

    You could argue there is other animals that the landlord allows in the building .

    If a tenant with an animal is in close proximity to your Apt. unit , you could argue that the landlord can not prove the fleas originated from your pet .

    You could argue they could have came from the other Apt.

    Let the judge decide .

    However just because your pet had a flea collar doesn't prove anything .
  3. #3
    lsatjohn1990 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for your reply BL, i have read some tenant/landlord laws but i cant find a good compilation. Are their any other sources or relevant information to my case that i should know about?



    for others, here is a shorter version

    Liability for fleas: $300 extermination fee and loss of $200 rent from next tenant
    I have an indoor cat with a flea collar. The apt has a flea problem. Does this prove that I caused the fleas? The neighbor has a dog. Fleas were found in common areas.
    Under this law, is the landlord is liable?
    [url]http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources…[/url]
    The lease states "tenant assumes risk of...infestation...releases the landlord from liability" And "outstanding charges..will be deducted from the deposit". Charges were made after my lease term. Are these legal clauses?
    It limits the liability of the landlord and waives a tenant right.
    I’m afraid of a large counterclaim for more rent.
    Will he know his own lease well?landlord claims loss of tenant but hasn't proven there was one.

    Which version should i take to court, do they like it short?
  4. #4
    Searchertwin is offline Senior Member
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    Liability for fleas: $300 extermination fee and loss of $200 rent from next tenant
    You are responsible for the extermination. Why? You knew of fleas when you left the place.
    You are not responsible for loss of rent for a tenant that did not take place due to fleas. Why? Because any LL should have expected to give him some time to attend to an apartment after a tenant leaves to repair a place or clean. Now, the LL finds the place has fleas. He needs to exterminate, and that takes time, so LL should have allowed the time before obtaining a new renter.

    I have an indoor cat with a flea collar. The apt has a flea problem. Does this prove that I caused the fleas? The neighbor has a dog. Fleas were found in common areas.
    Your cat, his cat, my cat, doesn't matter, it was your apartment.


    It limits the liability of the landlord and waives a tenant right.
    True, but you didn't have to agree with it when you sign the lease.
    Can you really blame the LL? Why should LL constantly pay for extermination when tenants continue to bring them in, not clean place up, or help control the problem? Would you? Of course not.


    Will he know his own lease well?
    That's one thing you can count on. I know my leases for each property, inside and out.

    Which version should i take to court, do they like it short?
    [/QUOTE]

    I would send crr letter to LL first stating that I do not owe for tenant rent. Give reason above.

    Your reasoning of "my cat had flea collar" and "neighbors dog had fleas", really just proves there are fleas. Again, it is YOUR apartment and you have to prove that the fleas did not come from your cat. Hard to do.

    Also in that letter add the following:
    Show him paperwork that you did try to control the fleas and they still continue.
    Show paperwork that you sent to LL to do the extermination after you tried and fail due to other animals in area.
    Show that LL refused to maintain property after not responding to your request in writing indicating that problem is still there after you could not get rid of pests.
    Now, if you did not do any of the above, you will lose.
    Last edited by Searchertwin; 08-13-2011 at 06:40 PM.
  5. #5
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Let me give you a hint for the future...flea collars do little to nothing to control fleas. Give your cat Revolution or a similar product and that will not only control the fleas on your cat, but will also get rid of the fleas in the environment.

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