A recent court decision awarding a tenant a large cash award should put landlords nationwide on alert of a growing rental issue. A 69-year-old tenant sued her landlord over a dangerous property situation in her apartment. The tenant was bitten numerous times by bed bugs while in her apartment. The tenant claimed that her landlords knew of the presence of the bed bugs before she moved in. The tenant attempted to get the landlords to fumigate the apartment but the landlords failed to do so. The landlords then evicted the the tenant and placed her personal belongings outside on the curb where they were stolen.
It took the jury approximately 45 minutes to return an award of $800,000 in favor of the tenant. According to attorneys, the large cash award is a signal of growing sympathy felt by juries toward tenants raising bed bug lawsuits.
Landlords owe certain duties toward their tenants that are mandated by law. One primary duty is the responsibility of the landlord to keep their premises in a habitable, or livable condition. Simply put, landlords must make sure their apartments are free from nuisances that may make living in their rentals unbearable. Here, constant bites by bed bugs would cause a tenant to not be able to continue to reside in an apartment. The tenant in this case suffered numerous bites and lesions and no doubt experienced an untenable situation.
Landlord-tenant disputes are some of the most often litigated civil cases. Many times, tenants are faced with issues in their living arrangements and feel like their complaints will go unheard or that the law is favored toward landlords. That, of course, is not always the case, an experienced personal injury attorney well versed in landlord-tenant disputes may assist a tenant who feels like their rights are not being protected.