Addressing Questions About The Responsibility Of Your Landlord In The Presence Of Bed Bugs In Your Unit

Posted on: 23 March 2015

Bed bugs are a serious problem in the U.S. Indeed, in a report that was published recently, CBS stated that the bed bug extermination industry had recorded an 18%-increase in business activity in 2014. Part of this change can be attributed to the rise in the number of extermination requests coming from the property management sector. Once an infestation issue is reported in a housing unit, the neighboring units also get treated.

This article addresses a few questions about the responsibility of a landlord in the presence of bed bugs in your unit:

Which legal obligations do landlords have about pest problems?

According to the law, all landlords are required to disclose to prospective tenants any information that might negatively affect the quality of their living before renting a unit. The only exceptions apply when the information might stigmatize them.

For instance, if a murder took place in the given apartment or home, then the landlord has the right to keep such a fact secret. In the case of bed bugs, the landlord must not only disclose the existence of the problem, but also guarantee that it has been taken care of.

So, if after moving into the unit you spot one or two bugs crawling on your walls, then your landlord is liable.

Can your landlord decline responsibility?

Profit maximization is one of the main objectives property management companies have set. This means that they'll do anything they can to minimize their expenses, such as declining responsibility for a bed bug problem that you have reported.

One strategy they often use to refuse liability is to state that you brought the bed bugs yourself, which might be easy to prove if you recently bought and brought used furniture in the housing unit. This is especially true if they have reports from a certified pest control management showing that the infestation has been eradicated before you moved in.

As you might know, used furniture items are known for allowing bed bugs to travel and spread quickly from one location to another.

Can you force the landlord to accept responsibility and release you from the lease agreement?

If you keep seeing bugs in your home after multiple visits from an exterminator, then it means that the extermination method used doesn't properly address the pest problem. This may be because your landlord is reluctant to pay for the premium extermination services that will thoroughly address the pest problem in your building.

What you can do to force them to release you from your contract is threaten to take a legal action. To prevent its reputation from being impaired, the landlord will let you go. To learn more, contact a company like Garrie Pest Control with any questions or concerns you have.


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