One night you're in your apartment and something skitters across the floor. You go to investigate. You discover your apartment is filled with an army of cockroaches. Petrified and disgusted, you immediately want to call your landlord. However, how do you approach this situation?
Tenants may be nervous to report a pest problem to their landlords. Some landlords are reliable and responsible, and others simply aren't. Consider these tips if you're unsure of how to discuss a pest problem with your landlord.
Information is your friend
In any pest infestation, tenants need to gather a good amount of information, Nolo stated. Be sure to cite any time you witnessed a pest in your home, noting the date and time. Try to describe the amount of pests you saw and what kind they were. Having record of this will be useful if you decide to take legal action against your landlord. Sometimes, landlords ignore claims from tenants. If you choose to take him or her to court, having a strong case with pictures and descriptions of the pests will help. That way, it's more than your word against his.
Chat with your neighbors
The Safer Pest Control Project - Chicago stated that if you notice pests in your home, it's a good idea to check in with your neighbors and see if they have a similar situation. More often than not, neighbors are sharing pests with you. Certain pests such as bed bugs, rats and cockroaches all travel between apartments. Having their testimony beside yours only makes the case stronger.
Document your complaint
Many tenants may call their landlord and simply leave a message if he or she doesn't pick up. However, this isn't a great idea. Tenants should also document their complaint through the mail. Write a letter and send it to him or her, even if you've spoken with the landlord already. That way, if he or she does a poor job or never actually follow through, you have a written letter with a dated mail stamp that will hold up in court. Keep a backup copy of the letter for your records.
Note you are not responsible
In the letter to your landlord, you should state that you're not responsible for eliminating the bugs. However, note that you're willing to cooperate and help control the pest infestation. Many states hold landlords responsible for creating homes that are fit to live in. If, for some reason, your landlord is negligent and your apartment can't be lived in, then you can take him or her to court. However, the place has to be truly infested in order for this to be the case.