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Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem - Landlord Forum thread 175614

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Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Shubha on March 22, 2009 @02:54

One of our tenants wants to be let out of lease due to an ant problem in the unit. The property manager knew about the problem but did not fix it for over a month. Now the tenant wants to move out, has given 30 days notice and wants to move middle of the month with refund of 1/2 months rent and security deposit.

What are our rights and obligations as a landlord in this case? Should we accept this and let them move out?

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Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Anonymous on March 22, 2009 @13:25 [ Reply ]
No. Are they on a MTM or 12 month lease? What does the lease/contract say about pest control?
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Mark Rosenfeld (Maryland) on March 22, 2009 @16:26 [ Reply ]
I agree with the previous replies, a lot depends on what your lease states. My sense of the situation is, these people have some other reasons to want to move out. If the lease is still in effect, I believe they are in breach of lease if they try to move out. Most states have some sort of legal protocol for health/safety concerns that are not addressed in a timely manner by the landlord/property manager. In my experience, they almost NEVER include letting the tenant out of the lease for something like ants. (Now, if there is some kind of HUGE infestation of, say, fire ants, there might be an exception, but...)
I d check my lease. If they're still under lease, I d call a lawyer...
Hope that helps!

Mark Rosenfeld
Auburn Rose Property Services

Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Micah on March 22, 2009 @17:18 [ Reply ]
Just spray the place and get it over with... It takes 10 minutes tops!
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Daniel (CA) on March 23, 2009 @05:44 [ Reply ]
If you took care of the problem especially in a timely manner then tenant can not break lease. Did the tenant inform you in writing of the problem?
You cant make the tenant stay if they want to leave. But Do not refund any funds until your rerent the place. And subtract the loss that this tenant caused from the security deposit.
If it takes 1 day to rerent the place then you can only charge the tenant for the one day it was left vacant( if rent was $300 per month and deposit was $300 so you can only charge the tenant $10 ($10 x 1 ) AND you must refund $290). If it takes 5 days to rerent the place then you can only charge the tenant for the 5 days it was left vacant (if rent was $300 per month and deposit was $300 so you can only charge the tenant $50 ($10 x 5 ) AND you must refund $250).
I am not sure about the month refund that they already paid
But make sure you send to them proper statements itemizing any charges you assess within the required time limit of your state ( in California, you must send a statement and the money within 21 days)
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Holly (CA) on March 23, 2009 @18:00 [ Reply ]
Let me first say that I have absolutely no idea about the law on this one but.........

This sounds so stupid to me. Ants come around when there is food left out. They are easy to kill but they will keep coming back if food is left out. Tell the tenanat to wash his god damn dishes and stop bugging you (pun inteneded). I think the tenanat just wants out of the lease for other reasons and this is the best excuse that the clown could think of. If I have ants I don't wait around for anyone else to buy the $5 can of raid in order to fix the problem. What a dumb ass.

Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Joyce (OK) on March 23, 2009 @18:15 [ Reply ]
Here's a partial restatement of the WA LL/T act's LL responsiblities provided by the Dispute Resolution
"4. Provide for control of insects, rodents and other pests, except when caused by tenant. (In single
family residences, landlord does not have to control infestations that occur during tenancy.)"

Note the exception. Note also that ants may be following water sources, such as condensation on windows or pipes, which are natural and not within the control of the T. Or they may be enticed into the unit by food and water sources left out by the T. Check the source of the infestation and determine whether it is your responsibility under the WA LL/T law, then take the appropriate action.

Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Micah on March 23, 2009 @18:32 [ Reply ]
Here is what you do. Go to Lowes or Home Depot. Head into the garden department. There should be an aisle of pest control products. Buy a can of Raid for ants and a big gallon sprayer of a home barrier guard to spray outdoors on your foundation. It should cost about 22 bucks or so. Spend one 1/2 hour at the property and spray. This stuff is stronger than 99% of what the exterminators will use (OSHA standards). Then tell the tenants to wash the floors and surfaces so the ants won't have a reason to come back.
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Scott (Georgia) on January 1, 2010 @09:16 [ Reply ]
I'd like to see all of you people live in an apartment that is infested with ants and see how "easy" it is to get rid of them. It is also a major pain in the ass! You should be able to leave food in your pantry and around the kitchen, NO???? I realize that you are all trying to cover your own asses but for some people, this ant thing is a HUGE problem!!! Here's an idea...try CARING for your tenants and FIX the damn problem!!!

That is all.

Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Anonymous on June 5, 2010 @13:31 [ Reply ]
Fix the problem. If tenant is reasonably clean, the ants are probably caused by cracks and bad seals, and that's your problem.
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Anonymous on August 11, 2011 @02:45 [ Reply ]
Ive been in the tenant situation and before this I would have always agreed that it was your renters problem. However after living in the home where I did, I now have another perspective. Are house was RAIDED win ants. They were coming in through the baseboards jn places there was never ever food (ie 2 of the bedroom closets). We kept our house immaculately clean (we had a house cleaner come 2xs) a week and spent couple hundred dollars over time on sprays & such. We reached our braking point when we realized that the ants were eating through clothes and putting holes all over very expensive items.... Such as my Grandmothers wedding dress:( I told our landlord it needed to be sprayed but he refused because doesn't believe in chemicals and that it's our fault we were too messy (so so far from true!). We left the house that week and took our landlord to small claims court. We brought pics of ants, receipts from the cleaning place that cleans r house, receipts of every penny spent on ant spray, and every txt/email between landlord and ourselves (all stating in one way or another it's not his problem). Guess what? Not only did the judge rule in our favor by giving us back our full deposit, he also demanded that he pay us back for $ spent on raid, ect., AND we got our money back for rent for the last 2 weeks in the house when the ants were the worse. We got back way more than we asked for.

So... Moral of the story, it may my them being dirty that's attracting the ants. To save ur butt in case it is nothing they were doing u need to pay the money to spray the place. If anythig still does occur then at Kearny showed u tried to mitigate the problem It's by far ur best option.
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by debbie bennett (california) on May 5, 2012 @19:05 [ Reply ]
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Tenant (washington) on June 9, 2015 @20:13 [ Reply ]
just to shine a little light from the other side. we moved into a duplex in august and within one week noticed ants. we informed out manager and they sent someone out to seal up some holes in the walls (which I later found out to be mouse holes). They sprayed around the outside of the area. Winter comes through and suddenly there is a mouse problem.. I started freaking out and cleaning my kitchen counters last thing before bed and first thing in the morning. called the manager and they said they'd see what they could do. I was so mad. Then the mouse start leaving mounts of droppings in an upstairs bedroom dresser drawer (I had been told by pest control that mice only poop where they eat but let me you I was raised military, food is NEVER in the bedrooms). we cleaned the problem up and called the manager again. finally ended up getting a cat to get rid of the mice because they wouldn't do anything about it and now the ants are back. I clean my kitchen every day and we do our dishes after every meal. when pest control came out he told us they knew about the problem two years ago and just wont do what they need to get rid of it. when we pressed the manager about it, they told us to be out by the end of our lease. So no, don't tell your tenant to do their dishes. Clean up after your own damned self and take care of the properties you own. Washington state requires landlords provide a safe living condition. Let me ask you, have you ever woken up freaking out because you're covered in ants? Have you ever had your children wake up screaming because they're covered in ants
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Kristina (NC) on June 6, 2016 @08:52 [ Reply ]
I am experiencing this same problem as a renter! Ant infestations are not caused by a few dirty dishes being left out! It would take a whole dirty, filthy house with trash all over to attract that many ants. If for example a single dirty cup or a bowl of dry dog food is causing hundreds of ants to show up then you have an infestation (ie. The ants are already in the house and are coming out of hiding to get a meal). In this state, as long as the exterminator can see that the infestation isn't caused by our own doing, then the leasing agent is 100% responsible for the cost of an exterminator EVERY TIME because that's part of making the house sanitary and livable. If she were to ignore this we could not only break our lease, but also sue for the bad conditions and for the rent paid to live their already and the moving cost. Also there is a reason raid is cheap.. It is filled with harmful chemicals that are dangerous to pets and also works rather poorly. Investing in any spray was a complete and total waste of my own money. I'm glad I found out it was my landlords responsibility.
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Kayla (Hmmmm) on July 12, 2016 @18:00 [ Reply ]
Ok I am not a landlord and my legal framework is minimised on this but it won't be once I've seeked professional advice.

I am currently a tenant in a house that has major ant infestation- I have only lived here 5 weeks and the ant infestation is beyond a joke. I can't even watch the tele without them crawling all over me. I have just moved in and I am expecting a baby. I have had pest control out twice I have bought bum numerous products myself and nothing is getting rid of them. A ant problem is easy to say and easy to think it's just a tiny issue it is not. When ants come into a house/ premises they are on there due to having colonies (nests) either in the walls or in the ground and they multiply by the second - the ants that come out are called working ants and hey try and collect anything they can can even be a tiny crum that has been left, they go where it is warm and where they can smell sugar - sugar can be syrup in a bottle that is tightly shut and they can not get in but they can smell sugar from a bug distance.
Ideally the way to kill the ants is leave a gel in corners of the house and at points of entry the ants will take this gel back eat it and kill them the other ants will eat the dead ants and this is how they will die in the colonies - however I have had pest control out twice and they are coming out tomorrow for the third time I have lived here 5 weeks and I am seeking legal advice out of my tenancy - the agency is not concerned regarding this matter and I should not live in a house covered in ants
Re: Tenant wants to break lease due to ant problem by Adria (Washington) on April 16, 2017 @20:17 [ Reply ]
I am a landlord. I also live where I rent. As per WA landlord tenant law, the ant issue is the landlord's responsibility except if it is the tenant's fault.

That being said. if the ants aren't going away, it means they are in the walls. Usually it also means there is water in the wall from somewhere. The landlord is responsible for hiring someone to open the wall and find the nest. Get rid of the ants. Remove the damaged wood, repair where the water is coming from. Rebuild the damaged wood inside the wall and rebuild the drywall. Ants infestations are serious structural issues. I think I spent $400 on my infestation. It is gone. The ants are dead.

Buy pure ground cinnamon from the cheap grocery store -- the stuff without sugar. Pour it along the floor at the junction of the walls. Any ants that walk over it will have their exoskeleton punctured and will die. As a precaution I line all the floor/wall junctions.

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