Opossum Infestation Causes Lawsuit in Texas

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Services for Real Estate Pros 0531694 inactive

According to Inman News, a Harris County, Texas (Houston) real estate brokerage is being sued by a former tenant.  The former tenant, is suing for negligence and is stating that she contracted typhus after moving into a home rented by one of the  brokerage's agents.

Typhus is a bacterial diseases spread by lice or fleas. A person is at risk if exposed to rat fleas, rat feces, and other animals such as opossums, raccoons, cats, and rats. Symptoms include; abdominal pain, backache, red rash, extremely high fever (105-106 degrees), hacking cough, headache, joint pain, nausea, and vomiting.

OpposumAdult flea
opossum                                                                   adult flea

The former tenant states in the suit that in 2009, she was admitted to the hospital with typhus after an ongoing opossum infestation of the house brought fleas into the home.  She charges that the brokerage firm who acted as the property manager, failed to property manage the house exposing her to an unreasonable and unhealthy risk.

So a word of warning for property managers (and I manage a few myself), inspect properties before leasing them.

I'm wondering if this suit will bring on a new requirement for landlord's to disclose past/present conditions. Landlord's Disclosure?

Diana Manzato, Broker
"Connecting outstanding people to outstanding properties"
Denton County Texas Lakefront Property Specialist

 

 


 

 

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Groups:
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Tags:
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fleas
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Rainer
133,653
Mark Schweller
A. Meadows Real Estate - Oakley, CA
Building Communities; One Home at a Time

It will be interesting to see how the court rules. 

Apr 15, 2011 06:34 AM #1
Rainer
119,075
Diana Manzato
Highland Village, TX

Yes it will...we have to always CYA....in this business.

 

Apr 15, 2011 06:43 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,307,910
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Diana-I think CYA is going to operative here.  People will sue over anything...I'm not saying that the agents are blameless because it sounds as if there was a real problem, but then again will property managers soon be sued because a renter contracted Avian Chlamydiosis when wild birds start living in or on the property pooping everywhere??  Disclose...disclose...disclose!

Apr 16, 2011 01:03 PM #3
Rainmaker
187,872
David Harper
Florida Management and Consulting Group Inc. - Coral Springs, FL
Homes For Rent

Gross story but you made some good points!

Keep selling that Denton County real estate!

Apr 17, 2011 04:07 PM #4
Rainer
119,075
Diana Manzato
Highland Village, TX

Hi Nick -Yes, people seemed to be looking for reasons to sue.  We just have to do our best...

Apr 18, 2011 10:06 AM #5
Rainer
119,075
Diana Manzato
Highland Village, TX

@David....I often wonder how the tenant was living and for how long before she decided it was gross?  Anyway, thanks for the post!

Apr 18, 2011 10:07 AM #6
Anonymous
Quinn

I am having a similar possum problem in a house I rent. They live under the house and I hear them constantly scratching my floor boards, bath tub, running into pipes etc. They wake me up constantly. I smell feces, uringe, and I even have fleas in the house now. Luckily, my health is ok so far. My landlord and I have trapped 3 so far but new ones keep moving in. If this problem isn't resolved soon, it will become a major health issue. What rights do I have as a tenant? If the problem persists, do I have the right to move out without penalty, even if my landlord is trying his best to control the situation?

Mar 20, 2012 12:12 AM #7
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