Most people believed that bedbugs were fictional when they were kids. Unfortunately, they are very real and many people have a problem of infestation with the pesky critters. Bedbugs have seen an increase in recent years thanks to the prohibition of DDT, a pesticide.
Another reason they have made a comeback is because of an increase in international travel. They infest many homes and public spaces like offices and make life miserable for everyone they encounter. Treatment for bedbugs is also frequently costly.
If you live in a rental property, however, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the tenants are free of such a problem. Tenants are taking action against landlords in some states and many cities.
Are Bedbugs the Landlord’s Fault?
Many cities and states in general require landlords to ensure that their buildings are of a “habitable condition,” which means they should be free of pests. In general, landlords and property management companies want to avoid bedbugs.
This is because an infestation can result in having to spend money on treatment, lost rent, lawsuits and of course, their reputations suffering irreparable damage. Many landlords will have inspections done after an apartment has been vacated to ensure the space is free of bedbugs before renting them to a new tenant.
Are Bedbugs the Tenant’s Fault?
Usually, tenants are the ones who bring bedbugs home to their apartments. The insects can end up on belongings or clothing when a person is somewhere else, such as public transportation or a hotel while traveling. In other cases, bedbugs are brought into a home when a tenant buys used furniture or other items.
It is important to keep in mind that less than perfect hygiene and a low income have nothing to do with a person’s ability to have bedbugs. It is actually even more common for people with higher incomes to suffer more because they also tend to travel more often.
In most cases, when a tenant discovers bedbugs in their apartment, they try to get their landlord to pay for treatment. Sometimes, they even sue for damages. However, it is often difficult to prove that the landlord is the one responsible for a bedbug infestation and that the tenant didn’t inadvertently bring bugs home during their travels.
What to Do Before Renting
It’s important to talk to the landlord prior to renting an apartment or house space. Ask whether there have ever been a bedbug infestation. Legally, the landlord has to respond honestly.
Should you later discover an infestation, inform your landlord immediately and talk to other tenants to see if they have a problem as well. If multiple apartments in the same building have bedbugs, it’s a sign that the landlord is at fault.
How to Determine Responsibility
If the tenant is found to be responsible for a bedbug infestation, it is their fault to cover the costs of treatment. Not doing so can result in eviction. If it’s uncertain who is responsible, however, the costs are split between the landlord and tenant.
Of course, if the building already had a bedbug problem, the landlord is responsible for treating for it. You can prove when the landlord is responsible by checking for previously filed complaints.
How a Bedbug Lawyer Can Help
Laws regarding bedbug infestations in rental homes are often complicated. As a result, there is even a new practice that revolves around bedbug law. Additionally, the facts can be different between all cases. It’s important to hire a skilled attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law regarding the problem of bedbug infestation.