Beg bugs are a huge nuisance that can be found even in the best of apartments. The bugs can land on your suitcase as you travel, clothing, or used furniture. More so, these annoying insects can crawl from one apartment to another in the same building. Using some insecticides may prove futile on these bugs that multiply very fast.
Are Landlords Responsible For Bed Bugs
It is the duty of the landlord to ensure the rental units are thoroughly inspected before a new tenant moves in and the unit is left in a habitable condition. If there was an infestation issue before the new tenant moved in, the landlord has an obligation to treat the infestation and remove the problem. On the other hand, if there was no bed bug problem before the tenant moved in, the landlord may have an argument that the tenant is responsible for handling the infestation. Whether a tenant is responsible likely depends on local law and the lease agreement.
Who arranges to get the exterminator?
Given that bed bugs have invaded your home, the best option is to call your landlord or building manager as fast as possible. Your landlord is expected to get an exterminator to check the bug infestation in your rental unit as well as the ones close to yours. The landlord should notify you when the exterminator will come.
Normally, an exterminator will assess the main site of the bed bugs, which is usually the mattress and bedding, as well as all drawers, shelves, and closets. He/she will also try to confirm the origin of the insects, and determine how they have spread. Keep in mind that treating your unit alone will not be sufficient to remove the infestation — standard protocols in the industry call for treatment of the adjacent units as well.
Who Pays To Get An Exterminator?
In upholding their duty to give habitable homes, landlords should cover the cost of exterminating pests like bed bugs which the tenant hasn’t introduced. Some states make this responsibility explicit. However, determining who is to blame for the introduction of the bed bugs is usually hard in multi-unit apartment buildings. Thus, you should contact the bed bug lawyers at The Elan Law Firm for a consultation if problems arise.
A lot of tenants might be moving in and out, people may travel overseas and come back with bugs or picked up second-hand furniture that was infested with the bugs. Due to this, landlords usually end up covering the extermination expense through their insurance policies. However, if you are renting a single-family house, and you are a long-term tenant, you might easily be left to foot the bill as there will be no other residents to blame.
Depending on your individual case, if the landlord refuses or is unable to handle the bug infestation, you might be able to withhold rent to cover the cost of extermination, break your lease and leave the apartment early, or sue your landlord for the damages. However, you should never withhold rent payments until you discuss the case with an attorney.
If a landlord can prove that you were the one who introduced the bed bug infestation, it will likely be your financial responsibility as the tenant to cover the costs of extermination and any destroyed belongings.
Can You Sue a Landlord If You Have Bed Bugs?
In some states in the US, you can sue your landlord if he or she is responsible for your bed bug infestation and/or failing to remedy a bed bug problem.
You can sue the landlord for:
- Any lost or damaged property like bedding, suitcases, or clothing damaged by bed bugs.
- Expenses of relocating to another apartment and any extra fees you had to pay for the new place.
- Compensation for injuries and pain and suffering caused by bed bugs
- Compensation for emotional distress
- Lawyer fees and other court costs if you had to get a lawyer to sue the landlord.