Can I Sue Landlord for Roach Infestation

Can I Sue Landlord for Roach Infestation?

Cockroaches are very irritating, especially with their smell. Nobody wants to see them in their rooms. So it will be of great concern if you see cockroaches in your house.

If you are living in a rented apartment, you and your landlord will have a lease agreement regarding the things you both will look after.

So if you have a roach infestation, you might want to call the attention of your landlord to it because he/she should be responsible for the overall condition of the house. Therefore, can I sue landlord for roach infestation?

No, you can not sue your landlord for roach infestation if he/she is not responsible for that in the lease agreement. You are actually responsible for keeping your home clean.

Cockroaches are attracted to anything that is food. So if you don’t keep your home clean and there is a roach infestation, don’t try to sue your landlord but look for a way out.

What is a Roach Infestation?

This is the presence of cockroaches in your building. Having around 5-10 cockroaches isn’t a heavy infestation. The heavy infestation has to do with having more than 25 cockroaches in your home. 

When you suddenly have so many cockroaches in your apartment, it means roaches infestation. Roaches are attracted to food and they need somewhere moist to live. This is why they are found in bathrooms and kitchens. Roaches hide in dark places during the day and come out at night.

Can I Sue Landlord for Roach Infestation?

This depends on the lease agreement you had with your landlord. Generally, the tenant is responsible for taking care of his/her apartment. But in the case where the landlord is responsible for exterminating pests in the house, he/she must do the job.

In New York City, If after reporting to the landlord and nothing is done, then you can complain to the local health department. It’s not necessary to sue your landlord for roach infestation because you would be wasting time and money.

What Can I Do if My Landlord Won’t Get Rid of Roach Infestation?

If you spoke to your landlord and he/she refused to get rid of the roach infestation, you can do the following:

1. Report to the Local Health Department

Report to the health department of your locality and you will see your landlord rush to exterminate the roaches. Generally, landlords are to make the house comfortable to live in. So reporting your landlord is one way to make him do his job.

2. Exterminate the Roaches Yourself

If you don’t want to report to the health department, then you can decide to exterminate the roaches yourself. But before you do this, make sure you’ve spoken to the landlord about the roach infestation and recorded the conversation.

Also, you can deduct the money you spent on the extermination from your rent. Keep the receipts of the purchases.

Also, make sure you record every conversation with the landlord. If you don’t pay the complete rent because you are paying for the extermination of the roaches, the landlord can’t force you out of the house.

3. Break the Lease Agreement

If you are not responsible for the roach infestation in your home, you can break the lease agreement and move out of the house if your landlord refuses to do anything about it.

Cockroaches are dangerous to your health so it’s better to move far away from them. If the house is not well kept from roaches, then you can move out.

Can My Landlord Blame Me for Roaches?

Your landlord can blame you for roaches if he/she can prove that you caused the roach infestation. If you don’t clean the house well and you don’t dispose of your garbage on time, you are attracting roaches.

If he is able to present proofs that you caused the infestation, then you’ll have to pay for the extermination or pest control which is expensive.

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Get Rid of Roaches?

It shouldn’t take more than 4 days to fix the roach infestation. If the infestation is heavy, it can be more than 4 days.

Once the landlord is about to fumigate, he/she has to notify you to exit the house till the roaches have all been flushed out.

If the fumigation will take a longer time, the landlord should notify you 7 days earlier so that you can prepare to move out temporarily.

Can You Withhold Rent for Cockroaches?

Yes, you can withhold rent for cockroaches especially if you are not the cause of the infestation and your landlord decides not to do anything about it, you can pay for the extermination of the roaches yourself. This is expensive so you have to deduct it from your income.

You can decide to remove the amount you are spending on the fumigation from your house rent. Your landlord can not force you out of the house because you are not to blame for the infestation.

How to Report Roaches Infestation?

Before you report roach infestation to your health department, send a letter of complaint to your landlord first. It must be in writing. If the landlord refuses to do anything, then you should report to the local health department.

When filing a complaint to the local health department about roaches infestation, include the following details:

  • Your name
  • Property address
  • Mame of landlord
  • Nature of the complaint
  • When the infestation began
  • The period of infestation
  • If you’ve complained to the landlord and the response of the landlord

Once you file the complaint, the health department will take action. They’ll come over to inspect the property.

After the inspection, the health department will send the list of violations to the landlord and ask him/her to fix the problem within a period of time. If the landlord does not comply, he/she can be fined.


It is good to be aware of your tenancy rights. While signing your lease agreement, read through it to know what you are responsible for on the property.

Keep your house clean and if you notice a roach infestation, call the attention of your landlord to it. If you are not getting the response you want, you can file a complaint with the local health department.