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Tenant left behind cat flea infestation!!! - Landlord Forum thread 358368

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Tenant left behind cat flea infestation!!! by John on August 6, 2018 @12:12

So I have a complicated situation and I'm not sure if I'm able to sue. My lease specifies a $40.00 per month (additional) pet fee if tenants have pets. My last tenants decided to lie (surprised?) and claim they had no pets, they apparently had cats.

The cats belonged to the woman, but it was a bf/gf situation. The woman died several months ago around the lease renewal time and the remaining tenant (bf) decided not to continue the lease.

I took over the property right around 7/27 and have been working on cleaning and fixing various issues (mainly deferred maintenance). There are many unreported damage (not malicious) and broken items that I really wished they would have told me. Anyway within a few days of working on the house I got at least 20 or 30 of these red pimple bites all along my legs. I thought nothing of it since we had a really bad rainstorm and it must have been mosquitos. Anyway, the bites were only the lower half of my leg on the lower calf. I later did research and found this to be consistent with flea bites.

Later I walked barefooted ( as a test) in the basement and I suddenly saw 20 -30 little gnat like bugs hopping all over my bare legs!!!! I then ran to the store and bought some fumigators to attempt to kill the fleas. Afterwards it seems the flea population has significantly reduced, however every day I'm seeing at least 10 or so fleas on my white socks (I check regularly) and I'm still getting bit on my body every once and awhile. I have setup flea traps throughout the home (pretty much a plate with dish soap and a night light in front). I've caught maybe 40 or so fleas.

I called an exterminator and he quoted me about $250 and said that the residence would be uninhabitable for around 6 - 8 weeks because the chemicals need time to work and kill the fleas. The chemicals he's going to use will be harmful to humans in that time. Of course during this time I can't show the place, nor can I work on it. This is my question.

1. The tenant had been there since 2015. Can I sue for the pet fee (e.g. $40.00 * 12 * 3 = 1440). This would be used to deal with these type of situations. He did a good job removing any evidence of the cat but I found kitty litter and urine under a rug in the basement!! There was also a cat toy. But how much evidence is necessary to prove they had pets. The specific fleas that are biting me are cat fleas. So they are specific to cats only... I also talked to two neighbors that told me that she had cats!!!

2. Can I sue for lost revenue as a result of the place being vacat (as a result of the tenants actions)? This seems to be a better situation?

3. Can I sue for 1 and 2. So I'm asking for the pet fee that I would normal charge along with the extermination fees and lost revenue?

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Re: Tenant left behind cat flea infestation!!! by Garry on August 6, 2018 @14:06 [ Reply ]
First, call 3 other exterminators and get estimates, and find out how long it should take to get rid of the fleas from each one. People have fleas all the time, and hire exterminators, and maybe have to leave the property for a day or two, but that's it. NOBODY leaves their home for weeks at a time, just to get rid of fleas.

Second, people can sue anyone, for anything, at any time, for any amount. Whether you can win, or not, how much you may win, and whether you can find the person, and actually COLLECT, is another story. The GF is dead, so you can't collect from her. Her estate will probably not be liable. IF you can find the BF, and IF he has any money or a job, and IF you have a GOOD case that is WINNABLE, then maybe you could sue him. But you could only sue for the actual cost of getting rid of the fleas, not for what they SHOULD have paid you for a pet fee, or for any loss of rents AFTER you took back the property. (you would have to show you showed the property to several prospective tenants, and they refused to rent the place because of the fleas being there.) If I were you, I would forget about suing, take my loses, get rid of the fleas as soon as you can, get the place fixed up, and re-rent it again.
Re: Tenant left behind cat flea infestation!!! by lpadave on August 6, 2018 @18:21 [ Reply ]
---you should have been inspecting the property regularly and you would have discovered evidence of the cats AND the ''defferred maintaince'' you wish you knew about. I try to inspect every 6 to 12 months.

I think you waived the pet fees by your inattentiveness.

flea bombs available in big box and pet stores are pretty good. you need about 20% more than the labels recommend and I would do 2 or 3 courses of treatment to get both the adults, juveiniles and eggs/larve.

make sure your property is secure against outside varmints as they will reinfect it.

the A version is to get an exterminator in. 6 to 8 weeks is b***s***. That guy sounds like he's relying more on the natural life cycle of fleas and starvation than chemistry. Real companies hit it and guarantee it (or they come back NC) with re-occupancy in 2 or 3 days.
Re: Tenant left behind cat flea infestation!!! by Kathleen on August 10, 2018 @01:04 [ Reply ]
I do my own flea eradication.
Two flea bombs in each room. Wait 24 hours and vacuum throughly. Repeat every five days--throughky vacuum. I also put a plate of fish soap and water with a light to catch random hopping fleas. After three treatments (15 days), I have the carpet steam cleaned, letting the company know I have a flea problem.
After the 15 days, I make any repairs, paint, etc, setting off bombs every five days.
You want to disrupt the breeding cycle.

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