Q: Can I withhold rent until my landlord takes care of a mice problem?
Lived in the apartment for 4 months and all of a sudden I started getting mice. I told the landlord and they just put out sticky traps you'd get from the dollar store. I still had problems and they tried to seal some holes but that didn't work. They haven't done anything really to help stop the mice problem. It's been like this for 2 months and I have spent more money buying traps then they have (caught 6+ mice). My roommates and I are very clean and even the property manager has commented on how clean our apartment was when she came to check out the problem. We called today angry and threatened to withhold rent until we see a change in the mice situation. They said they were going to do an inspection this week but I feel like they are just going to look for something to blame the mice problem on us. What legal power do I have in this situation? Thank you for your time!
A: The lease contract always controls - it is the law between you and the landlord. So, as to maintenance, pest control, etc., look there to see if it is spelled out. Also, Louisiana law requires that the landlord provide you with a safe, habitable premise. To the extent that there is a rodent problem, you give written notice (as required under the lease), and provide a time to cure, but the problem goes unresolved, you may need to break the lease; consider living elsewhere. If you go that route, you may need counsel to assist with notice, review of the lease and your rights, and to advise on potential remedies.
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