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Who’s Liable for Bedbug Infestations - You or Your Landlord?
Posted At: October 6, 2011 1:00 AM | Posted By : admin
Related Categories: LOCAL NEWS & INFO

Landlord-tenant laws for bedbug infestations vary from state to state, but in some states, bed bug infestations can be an issue of landlord responsibility.  Bed bugs are a serious problem and the infestation will continue and can spread to adjoining units if not handled correctly the first time.

If you are a landlord, if you have your general pest control spray for bed bugs, the problem will continue and can potentially spread to adjoining units.  It is becoming common practice for landlords to include in tenant's leases exclusions for bed bug removal.

If you are a tenant, check your lease to see who is responsible.  Moving or throwing out your furniture and beds will not end a bed bug problem.  Just one pregnant female bed bug and your problem will continue.  It is important to become knowledgeable about bed bug best practices and do it right the first time.

If your state laws do not explicitly state who’s liable for bedbugs, check what other related rules may apply.  Here are some points to consider:

Habitability

Landlord-tenant laws in every state say that landlords must maintain “habitable” properties for tenants.  If you have bed bugs and live in Las Vegas for instance, The Southern Nevada Health District's website states that:

"Renters: Landlords and property owners have an obligation to provide safe and habitable accommodations for tenants. Tenants have an obligation to cooperate with owners and landlords. This includes preparing the home so that the pest control operator can easily inspect the rooms and treat if necessary.

Landlords: Landlords and property owners have an obligation to provide safe and habitable accommodations for tenants. Bed bug infestations can be considered unacceptable conditions."

In Nevada landlord's have a right to treat a bed bug problem, but they do not have to eliminate the problem.  Studies have proven that bed bug extermination requires a integrated pest management solution and spraying alone typically fails.  Also, when done correctly, furnishings and beds do NOT have to be thrown out.

State Law Variations

Read your lease carefully and research the landlord-tenant laws for your state. For example, a tenant in Rhode Island is responsible for getting rid of bedbugs if their apartment is the only one in the building with an infestation. It becomes the landlord’s responsibility in Rhode Island if more than one apartment in the building has bedbugs. In other states, the size of the building can determine whether it’s the landlord’s responsibility.

Tenant Options

Speak with your landlord.  Speak with your property management company or your office.  Either you or they should hire a pest control company that has a proven track record for successful bed bug exterminator - not a company that will just spray for bed bugs.  The pest control company should confirm the presence of bed bugs, the level of infestation and the company will put together a bed bug treatment plan based on your particular situation.  There are many factors when dealing with bed bugs.  If you are in a multi-unit complex and your neighbor has bed bugs and has been using fogger's - it is possible that the bed bugs have spread to your apartment via adjoining walls.  Also of importance, if you have recently rented a Las Vegas apartment - it is possible the unit had bed bugs before you moved in.  Consulting with a company that can assess your situation and guide you in the right direction is critical.

What questions should I ask if I have to pay for the bed bug extermination in my apartment or rental property?

Ask a lot of questions!  Don't learn the hard way!  Do your research from credible sources on how bed bugs are truly eliminated!  Spraying is for monthly pest control like cockroaches and ants.

If you have to pay for the bed bug treatment then you have the choice of who to hire.

Many apartment complexes bring in the contracted monthly pest control company that sprays the complex.  From our local Las Vegas assessments, numerous customers have been charged in excess of $250.00 for "spraying" for bed bugs. Customers have had to throw out furniture and do excessive preparation before spraying.  (like bagging all items and placing outside in the sun for just 7 days -- fyi - this is not needed).  The result is often that they still have bed bugs after the "$250.00 spray".  Bed bugs should be eliminated and not just treated and require an Integrated Pest Management approach - not just spraying.

IN SUMMARY

Moving will not get rid of bed bugs.
Spraying alone will not get rid of bed bugs.
In most cases, all clothing in closets and dressers does NOT have to be removed.
If you are paying for bed bug extermination, make sure you get a really good warranty.  Based on bed bug biology, we recommend a 90 day guarantee.
Bed bug elimination does not require a monthly pest control plan.
Make sure you research the treatment plan and that you are confident with the bed bug treatment options that the Las Vegas pest control company is using.


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