Can I Break My Lease Because of Bats?
Breaking a housing lease can be challenging. If you have an annoying bat problem in your rental, you may be wondering what happens if you break a lease, and can you legally break your lease because of bats? At first glance, you would think it is easy to break your early lease in this situation. However, proving that the bats make your home uninhabitable can actually be difficult.
Find out more about breaking your lease because of bats and how to easily solve this problem with a demand letter to your landlord from DoNotPay.
Rights and Responsibilities When You Sign a Lease
A lease is a binding contract. It spells out the rights and duties of the apartment manager as well as those of the tenant. Both parties agree to the terms for a specific length of time. One of the most important responsibilities of the landlord or management company is to provide a habitable space.
In your lease, it may have a paragraph discussing the "warranty of habitability." The standard typically applies to living in a home free of mold, non-working appliances, and pests. Because bats, by their nature, are considered natural reservoirs for pathogens like rabies, it is fair to consider them a dangerous pest.
Breaking a Lease for Habitability Violations Relating to Pests
Legal reasons to break a lease include violations of habitability laws as they pertain to pests. However, not all states spell them out. For example:
- Alabama and Arkansas have nothing on the books about pests.
- Alaska specifies that landlords are responsible for dealing with rats, mice, roaches, and other pests.
- California says that rental units have to be free from rodents and vermin.
That said, the different states have also developed a variety of rules for tenants dealing with a landlord who will not address habitability problems:
- Do not pay the rent. Some states, such as Florida and Nevada, view withholding rent as a remedy. However, you need to let the landlord know why you are not paying.
- Move out. In California and Rhode Island, you can move out. Terminate the lease with cause.
- Involve the authorities. You have the right to contact the housing inspector in New Jersey and Nebraska.
- Go to court. Legal action is recommended in Montana and North Carolina.
- Take care of the issue yourself. You have someone get rid of the bats and then charge the landlord for the expense. States such as Illinois and Arizona recognize this course of action as being acceptable.
What are the Landlord's Rights?
How much does it cost to break a lease because of bats? If the landlord acts in good faith, it might get expensive for the tenant. For example, for a tenant to claim a habitability issue, the bats must be in a livable portion of the home. If you are renting a house, and the bats are only in the attic, and you do not use the attic, then you will have a challenging time proving that the landlord is breaking the habitability clause.
If you do use the attic for storage, but it is not a primary living space, you most likely will not be able to withhold all the rent or break the lease because of the pests. That said, you can build your case by presenting the problem to the landlord and showing how bats are reducing the habitability of the location.
When trying to discover how you can break your lease without penalty, like costs for breaking your lease, consider that the landlord has several rights when you do not follow all state laws. For example, when you walk out of a binding legal agreement, the landlord can sue you for the rent you owe. They might also request money for a breach of contract and for any damages to the space.
The landlord may put an eviction on your record. As a result, it will become harder for you to rent a new apartment or house. Many prospective landlords or management companies do not rent to consumers with a bankruptcy or eviction on their records. In addition to these difficulties, it would adversely affect your credit score.
I Want to Break My Lease Because of Bats
You had enough, and your landlord is not working with you. In some states, you may be able to do these things to break your lease because of bats:
- Write a letter to your landlord and specify the extent of the pest.
- Include pictures of damage, record the noise that the bats make, and have videos on hand that show how the animals are dangerously near residents of the home. While you want to keep it short and to the point, incorporate all the details.
- Address this letter to the landlord.
- Send a copy to the management company or property owner, if they are different from the landlord.
- Then, you wait for the landlord to respond.
This is a time-intensive effort. Most tenants do not have the time to do that. There is good news: you can have help from DoNotPay.
Break Your Lease Because of Bats With DoNotPay
Rather than dealing with pest control specialists, landlords, management companies, and the hassle of putting together documentation yourself, DoNotPay will take over. In three easy steps, they'll get you out of the lease:
- Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.
- Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.
- Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.
DoNotPay solves the problem depending on your specific circumstances, like:
- If you're a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
- If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
- If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law, but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
- If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.
So, “can I break my lease because of bats?” Yes, with the help of DoNotPay it is possible. DoNotPay offers fast, easy, and successful solutions to your pesky (or pest) problems.
What if I Have Other Problems With My Lease?
DoNotPay can also help you with your other lease and landlord problems. We have solutions in all 50 states:
Sign up for DoNotPay to start quickly solving your problems!