BED BUGS LANDLORD'S LIABILITY FOR INFESTATION
1. The Overall Implied Warranty of Habitability
A landlord in most jurisdictions is obligated to maintain leased premises in a condition suitable for living purposes. The implied warranty of habitability has shifted a burden of responsibility to the landlord/owner requiring him to use reasonable care to provide safe premises fit for human habitation through inspecting, maintaining, and repairing the residential lease unit. Houston v. York, 755 So. 2d 495 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999), cert. denied, (Apr. 27, 2000); West's Key Number Digest, Landlord and Tenant 125(1). The warranty of habitability is not intended to make the landlord a guarantor of every amenity customarily rendered in the landlord-tenant relationship, but only provides protection against those conditions that materially affect the health and safety of the tenants or those deficiencies that, in the eyes of a reasonable person, deprive a tenant of those essential functions which a residence is expected to provide. McKinney's Real Property Law § 235-b, subd. 1. Port Chester Housing Authority v. Mobley, 6 Misc. 3d 32, 789 N.Y.S.2d 798 (App. Term 2004); West's Key Number Digest, Landlord and Tenant 125(1),
2. Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
A breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment occurs when there is a disturbance of the lessee's possession by the lessor that renders the premises unfit for occupancy for the purposes leased. Landlord's Liability for Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability, 43 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 329 (1997)
3. Bed Bug Issues
existence of bedbugs violate the warranty of habilitability or covenant of quiet
enjoyment. Most courts have said yes. Ludlow Properties was a 2004 New York case
where the court ordered a rent reduction based upon the existence of bedbugs.
Landlord brought nonpayment proceeding against tenant seeking unpaid rents, and tenant interposed a breach of warranty of habitability defense
stemming from the presence of bedbugs. Holdings: The Civil Court, City of New York, New York County, Cyril K. Bedford, J., held that:
1. infestation of bed bugs at tenant's apartment entitled tenant to abatement based upon the implied warranty of habitability, and
2. addressing an issue of first impression, abatement of 45% of tenant's rent during the period of the infestation was warranted.
Ludlow Properties, LLC v. Young, 780 N.Y.S.2d 853 (2004). (keywords bed bug, landlord, tenant, claim, lawyer, lease, bed bugs violating lease, claim, lawyer).
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