Landlord is Claiming I Caused Bedbug Infestation; I Disagree

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“My lease ended June 30 and on July 4 I received an email from my  former landlord stating that I had caused a bedbug infestation in the apartment above and that I would be responsible to pay the $1000 exterminator bill.  I was not aware there were bedbugs in my apartment. (There had been a roach problem which was present before I moved into the unit). I had lived in the unit since Sept 2010 and the new tenants living in the unit above me moved into the building in April/May of this year.  I asked how they knew it was my apartment that caused the bedbugs and not another unit. I have thoroughly searched through my belongings including my mattress and one sofa that I moved with and have found no evidence of bedbug activity.  She has not been the most responsive landlord and I know that she has had problems with other tenants in the past but I always paid my rent on time and we did not have any problems for the duration of my lease. I was never made aware of any difficulties and then get hit with an email days after I move out. Its just bizarre. Can she sue me for the cost of the exterminator bill?  How should I  proceed?”

Yes, she can sue you.  Or more likely just hold back the cost from your security deposit and leave it to you to sue to get it back. What you’ll need to do is gather as much evidence as you can regarding your bedbug-free status, and be prepared to present it to a judge.  Typically, these sorts of disputes end up in small claims court, and you can make your argument there with little expense.