Bed bugs can make their way into all sorts of places in your rental—your cushions, pillows, bedding, appliances, and even wallpaper. Simply put, bed bugs are gross. But tenants shouldn’t feel ashamed about bed bugs—these pests are a problem nearly everywhere in the United States, and having a bed bug infestation does not necessarily mean your house is dirty or you have poor hygiene. Bed bugs travel so easily and spread so quickly that an infestation can happen almost anywhere. You have bedbug infestation and your property manager confirms it. You moved in two years ago and there were no bedbugs. Who is responsible for the extermination?
Potential Causes of Bedbug Infestations
Perhaps your apartment became infested after you shopped at a reputable retailer, whose clothing may have been contaminated with nearly invisible bedbug eggs during shopping. A bed bug resurgence continues to happen, they are showing up in more places, including clothing store. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride into a store with shoppers. As an example, Victoria’s Secret reported that one of their locations had been invested by bedbugs, forcing them to destroy the infested clothing and treat the entire store for the pests. So your bed bugs can come from you carrying them into the apartment or from a neighboring unit or even from a nearby dumpster. A bedbug infestation isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. It is not necessarily due to neglect or bad behavior or dirty home. A pristine home can get bed bugs.
How to Handle a Bedbug Infestation
If you are the property manager, do not be too quick to blame your tenant. They are as eager to get rid of the bedbug infestation as you are. Many landlords who have several rental units have found that playing the blame game and trying to punish a tenant has a reverse effect. Tenants will delay reporting a bedbug infestation until the problem gets much worse and spread to neighboring units. Chances are you will need to invest in getting rid of the bedbug infestation. The extermination cost is normally the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. You will need the cooperation of your tenant. Try and keep the lines of communication open. You will have to have the tenant wash every article of clothing and linen insight. You should provide a pesticide bag for the washer to kill bugs, eggs, and larvae. These bags cost about $2.00 per load but are well worth your expense. The tenant will have to put all the clean clothing in sealed plastic bags and vacuum. All closets and drawers and shelves should be empty. They will have to leave the apartment while the apartment is being treated. If you have multiple units in the building, issue a handout to the other tenants letting them know which preventative measures they should take.
Comply with the Law
Many tenants have been served eviction notices and warnings in response to their bed bug problems. A landlord cannot evict on the grounds of an infestation unless they can prove that the tenant introduced the bed bugs to the complex. If you try and evict a tenant because of bedbugs you could potentially give them a cause of action against you. Landlords are obligated to keep their rental units in a habitable condition, regardless of their personal financial situation. It is their responsibility to keep the property free of rubbish, fifth, garbage, and vermin.
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