Bed bugs are tiny pests that present a big problem. They can infest every crack and crevice corner of your apartment and dealing with them is a hassle. If you’re unfortunate enough to have this issue, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and your landlord’s responsibility to resolve the situation.
Landlord’s Duties for Providing and Maintaining Property
As soon as you sign your lease, you have an implied warranty of habitability. This means that you’re entitled to live in a unit and that the landlord must maintain to meet the expectation of standard living conditions– including providing clean premises that are free of debris, filth, garbage, rodents, and vermin. California and San Francisco also have specific laws that outline a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to bed bugs.
Landlord’s Duties Regarding Bed Bugs
Because bed bugs are more difficult to treat than other pests, there are the specific duties that the landlord owes to tenants and prospective tenants when it comes to them:
- Landlords are prohibited from showing, leasing, or renting out property with active infestations.
- They can’t retaliate against tenants who call a government agency for an inspection, organized other tenants or requests that the landlord make bed bug treatments by raising rent or reducing service, or evicting them.
- Landlords must disclose the bed bug history of the last 2 years of the property to prospective tenants who inquire about this.
Owners must also provide information about bed bug signs and symptoms to tenants. Within 2 days of getting a bed bug complaint, a licensed pest control operator must investigate the unit. And because bed bugs travel easily from one unit to the next, they must also investigate units that are above, below, next door, and across the hall. If they aren’t treated simultaneously, it could be an ongoing problem.
Tenant’s Responsibilities to Maintain Property
You must keep your unit clean and dispose of trash in a sanitary manner. This is generally important in any issue that involves pest infestation because filth and uncleanliness is often associated with helping to contribute to bringing the creatures onto the property. Simply put, a tidy apartment makes it easier to see any signs of bed and other bugs. This way you can notify the landlord in a timely way, which is one of your duties as a tenant.
Responsibility for the Costs of the Bed Bug Treatment
Because the tenant has a duty to maintain the property, some landlords try to pass on the bed bug treatment costs onto the tenant. Your landlord may want to blame you for the outbreak by accusing you of bringing them to the building or not notifying them about the bugs in a timely manner. Although they may try to hold you responsible, your landlord has an obligation to deal with the problem and the costs.
Bedbugs cannot be treated with a simple over the counter bug bomb. To treat bedbugs requires inspections of adjacent units, sealing up cracks and crevices and multiple treatments spread out over a very specific period of time. To ensure that the problem is dealt with correctly, make sure that you get the contact information for whoever will be handling the treatment. Ask them if they are inspecting and treating the adjacent units and what method of treatment they are using. If you are unsure if things are being handled properly, consult with an experienced tenant attorney that knows how to deal with bedbugs.
If You’ve Landlord isn’t Taking Responsibility for Bed Bugs, Get Legal Help
It’s bad enough dealing with a pest infestation, but your landlord’s response can make it even worse. Are you experiencing a bed bug infestation and your landlord refuses to take action? Protect yourself with assistance from skilled tenants’ rights lawyers. Contact us here at Wolford Wayne immediately for help with this pressing issue.