At first you try to put it out of your mind. But there's no denying the scratching and gnawing that you hear between the walls. All signs point to an apartment rat infestation. Unfortunately, this is fitting because ever since the pandemic, rats have had to adapt to surrounding circumstances and have increased their presence in residential areas. It's bad enough to see a rat out in the street, but it's quite another situation when you see one in your apartment.
After you calm down, contact the landlord and report the sighting to them (in writing). Although it may be difficult (on many levels), it is important to gather documentation of the infestation such as photos of the rodents or of any other indicators, such as droppings. You want to be able to show some presence of the rats to the landlord. Additionally, you will want to clean your apartment to help get a sense of an entry point and also to minimize blame for an infestation.
Your landlord has a duty to address an apartment rat infestation as part of their obligation to provide you with a habitable premises, meaning that the premises must be livable and in a condition that doesn’t risk the health and safety of the tenants. Because rats and mice carry diseases and are a well-known public health problem, an infestation would qualify.
Additionally, your landlord has a duty to make necessary repairs. The catch is that your landlord is only responsible if they have actual or "Constructive" knowledge. Actual knowledge occurs when you or other tenants tell them. Putting this in writing is crucial because it makes it harder for your landlord to later deny knowing. " If your landlord is on notice and fails to act properly to address the problem then it's considered a breach of this duty.
While your landlord has a duty to fix a problem, you also have a duty to keep your apartment clean. Tenants who are "hoarders," or leave rotting food out for example may bare some responsibility for a pest infestation. Often times a landlord may try and pin the responsibility for a pest infestation on a tenant so be careful not to admit any fault, especially in writing. A landlord can sue you for damages or even attempt to evict you.
If you're battling rats or another infestation and you need help resolving the situation, you should reach out to an experienced tenants' rights attorney who is familiar with issues of this kind. Contact us here at Wolford Wayne for skilled lawyers who can provide insight into your potential case and help you explore your options.
Recovered on behalf of a group of 30 tenants living in an SRO in San Francisco who were living with horrendous conditions in their rent controlled apartments, including rodents, bedbugs, mold, water leaks and harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three families living in a building in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood who were forced to live with substandard conditions for years as a result of their landlord’s negligence, including issues with lack of heat, lack of hot water and cockroach/rat infestations.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a couple living in a rent-controlled home in the outer Sunset neighborhood. Our clients were forced to vacate after the landlord served them with an Owner Move-In Eviction Notice. After the landlords failed to move into the property, our clients filed suit for wrongful eviction.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant in Russian Hill. Tenant was forced to vacate her illegal apartment in retaliation for reporting unlawful rent increases to the San Francisco Rent Board.Read More
Recovered for a single long-term tenant in San Francisco. Our client was forced to move out of his apartment as a result of extreme landlord harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three long-term tenants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood who were constructively evicted due to noise and nuisance conditions created by their downstairs neighbors, which the owner refused to address.Read More
Recovered on behalf of elderly, disabled tenant who was forced to move out of her rent-controlled San Francisco apartment of 50 years after landlord/owner failed to resolve numerous building code violations that remained outstanding for over a decade.Read More
Recovered on behalf of seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two former San Francisco tenants who were evicted via an Owner Move-In Eviction and owner failed to occupy the unit as her primary place of residence.Read More
Recovered on behalf of an elderly long-term tenant who was forced to vacate her long San Francisco apartment as a result of her landlord’s refusal to address longstanding defective conditions, including lack of heat, mold, rodent infestations, and defective plumbing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who was forced to vacate his home as a result of ongoing, disruptive construction and the owners’ refusal to provide him with alternative housing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco family that was constructively evicted from their home in the Richmond District as a result of unlawful rent increases, defective conditions and tenant harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a tenant living in an illegal “in-law” unit. In this case, a new owner purchased the building and then demolished our client’s unit without permits while she was displaced for seismic retrofitting.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two long term San Francisco tenants who were fraudulently evicted from their home of over twenty years under the pretext of an owner move-in eviction.Read More
Recovered for tenant who was injured when their stairway railing collapsed at the tenant’s Mission District apartment building.Read More
Recovered in action for a group of tenants forced to vacate their San Francisco apartment house due to severe habitability defects including mold and water leaks.Read More
For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.