Tenants Rights and Bed Bugs
Summary: Tenants rights and bed bugs are forcing landlords to revisit the rules that require that landlords to maintain their properties as fit to inhabit. Who is responsible for bring bed bugs inside the apartment. Is it the tenant or the landlord?
We just rented a large expensive home two weeks ago and haven't fully moved in yet. The day we got the keys the living room, master bedroom and master bathroom were alive with carpenter ants and ghost ants. The landlord just laughed about it. The ants were everywhere.
My husband found a hole the size of a nickel at the base of the french doors and fixed it, but still just as many ants. Finally we got the management company to send out an exterminator after we filled the jetted tub with water, turned it on and out shot thousands of carpenter ants and eggs. The exterminator isn't authorized to go into the walls or attic and the management company just wants their money. I'm afraid to move in and are we currently living elsewhere and paying rent on two properties. How do I get rid of the ants? Please help! Karen; Orlando, FL writes:
The presence of carpenter ants indicates a moisture problem in the house. Often, it’s backed up gutters, but it might be a roof leak or plumbing leak, as well. Carpenter ants only attack dead or dying trees so those palms you mentioned are a red flag. The exterminator should have explained why the carpenter ants were present.
By the way. Tell your landlord to stop laughing. Tenants have a right to a pest free environment. By law! You have grounds to sue if he keeps messing with you. According to one Renter’s Rights site:
If your apartment is unfit or uninhabitable, you may use a legal procedure called "repair and deduct."
In most states the law says that if the landlord has failed to fix what can be deemed a truly significant problem, you may, without the landlord's permission and without filing a lawsuit, have defects or other problems repaired. They, you may subtract the cost of the repairs from the next month's rent. That will get your landlord's attention, for sure.
Just remember, you can only resort to the repair-and-deduct remedy if the problem is more than simply annoying. The problem has to be a threat to your health or safety. You cannot make a deduction for discovering a cockroach or two, but you can make the deduction if you are fully infested with cockroaches and the problem can be documented that it has been ongoing.
Before calling in an exterminator you are required to give the landlord notice of the problem and provide access to your apartment. Be sure to put your complaint in writing and clearly explain to your landlord that if the problem is not resolved within two weeks time, that you will schedule to have the work performed and the cost of said service will be deducted from the following month's rent. Be certain to get dated and signed receipts from the service contractor showing exactly what work was performed in case you have to prove it in court.
The law says that landlords must keep their properties sound. That includes floors, stairways and roofs. Electrical service, plumbing and heating must operate safely. He must supply a reasonable amount of hot and cold water and he must keep pest infestations in check.
Here's the catch. If it turns out that he can prove that you are the cause of the pest infestation, you're on the hook for the service bill. If your home is not clean and he says the cockroach problem is caused by your unsanitary living conditions, and he presents pictures of your messy kitchen, the repair bill will become your responsibility. If you refuse to pay, your landlord has the right to take the payment out of your security deposit.
Tenant rights are "inalienable." This means most of the rights covered in tenant laws cannot be signed away. Your landlord cannot have you sign a lease document that denies you these rights. When renting, these rights are usually referred to as a "warranty of habitability." Should landlord fail to maintain a dwelling as fit to inhabit, the lease can be broken, and the tenant is no longer obligated to pay rent.
There are lots of good online resources on this topic such as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's website. Nearly every state in the U.S. also has a tenant's rights website online. Plus, there are plenty of books on the topic, too.
That said, do you really want to deal with the type of landlord you are facing? My advice would be to look for a different place.
For more bed bug information please click here .
04 Jan 2012, 00:50
04 Jan 2012, 01:30
08 Feb 2012, 20:19
i just moved into this apartmet two weeks ago. the first night i notice my body was itchy and i found some red bumps on my arms. i thought it was an allergic reaction so i didnt pay mind to it. 5 days later i saw something (BEB BUG) crawling on my bed. thats when i notice i had bed bugs. i checked my entired apartment and the bathroom, the room, the living and dinning room, even the balcony are full of bed bugs. i notified my landlord because that night i had to sleep in my car (i was afraid), my landlord said he will take care of it. he sent the maintanence guy to pour some powder. i have not stayed in that apartpartment for almost a week. and he still wants me to pay rent. he offered another unit but it will be ready in a week, meanwhile i have been sleeping on the floor of a friend house and my car. the guy will not compensate me. he knew that unit had bedbugs and he never informed me. just when i told him, he said "i thought the bed bugs were controlled".i had to get rid of my matress. there is eggs everywhere. i dont know what to do. if that unit is infested i believe the entire building is.. please i need help.
09 Feb 2012, 10:08
26 Feb 2012, 19:21
27 Feb 2012, 11:39
As for the bed bugs, control is very possible, but you need to educate yourself about their habits and the actual control process. It requires you knowing how to identify all the instar stages of the bug. (If you don't know what an "instar stage" is, then you have not learned enough.) You also need to know which pesticides should be used and how and where to use them.
It takes work to get rid of bed bugs, but it can be done.
30 Apr 2012, 10:35
This tenant sent me a video showing a live one, I sent it to my exterminator and he saiys how do we know itis from the apartment? Also she claims to have gone twice to emergency for bed bug bites, yet we have had an exterminator going there since last August to do the whole building not justthat one.
Each time the exterminator goes they still have not complied with what they needed to do for it to work, like no bed cover zippered mattress, clothing in closets floors making it imposible for exterminators to do the job as they should,each time it has been an issue. Different people moving in, old furniture brought in even though they were told not to do that.
I am at my witts end. Tenant request us to get heat treatment which is very costly.But renter not willing ot follow the rule when exterminator has been tehre and has pople in and out. so That owuld be useless.HELP.We now will ask her to move, so we can get the place rechecked again.
30 Apr 2012, 10:42
Its probably been a while since you've had to live in an apartment. Having family in property management and myself being a pco. I will explain how shai might not have seen what would be "obvious" to you. Frequently, for various reasons, apartments are shown before being prepped and cleaned for the next tenant. A tenant walks into an apartment, see's the mess and rather than inspect every grain of rice, grease splatter, mildew or BEDBUG feces. They're focus is conceptualizing after the place is cleaned, whether or not is has enough space, picturing where their belongings will be place etc. Futhermore, for places which have been cleaned. Bedbug fecal matter, skin castings, and carcasses from baseboards, walls, trim and other surfaces have been cleaned up. In addition, you know many landlords self treat which in turns repels pests deeper into hiding. There is no "Obvious" evidence to the normal tenant and even to a lot of pco's. Are tenants to blame for not removing trim, switchplates, smoke alarms and knowing what this evidence looks like ? I say it is not a tenants fault for not knowing what they're moving into. In fact, if tenant never had a previous infestation, do not bring home used furniture, and other common sources. Stop blaming them. People can carry bed bugs on their personal items but was the source? The previous landlord, tenant, shelter, hotel/motels, employer offices who deny to avoid paying for treatments and liability. Where was the source of their infestations and prior to theirs? The same and so on until we get to the earlier in 2000's when the only infestations we pro's saw were High end Hotels, corporate housing, and business executive's homes. Is it their fault shai and these other tenants have bedbugs?
30 Apr 2012, 15:01
01 May 2012, 00:27
01 May 2012, 08:12
It has been over 2 months this situation happened. I'll have to say i was angry at the response the exterminator gave me but hey everyone have their own opinion.
I left that place after i found out those things were bedbugs, and i was still paying rent and not living there. Just because i left all my stuff in the apartment.. (oh well), I had to get rid of all my furniture. (everything) Even some photo frames i had on the wall. All the guy did was give me the security deposit. I lived there for less than two weeks. And all my stuff had bedbugs all over the place.
The landlord knew there were bedbugs before in that unit, but he thought he killed them all. So he said. This situation was painful because i had to seemy doc because i had bites all over my body and i had an allergic reaction. Those bites looked like bumps all over body and face. I called the citty so they can come and inspect the apartment and they never came. I waited and i kept on calling but no answer.
Right now i found an okey place, the best thing is that is bedbug free! Thanks have a great day..:)
05 Jun 2012, 11:05
There was a problem about two years ago with bed bugs in an apartment. We brought in an exterminator (which was expensive). He removed the bed bugs and the tenant has not had an issue since. About a month and a half ago a couple and their child moved into another aparment in our building. That apartment had never had bed bugs (or at the very least had never complained about bed bugs- and we had to evict them, so I am sure that they would have complained if it was a problem). At the month and a half mark the tenant came in and said that they believed that they had bed bugs (with signs of bites of somesort, but no actual bed bug). She said it started out on her matress, so they went to sleep on the couch. We decided to supply the tenant with the bed bug dust (which is an organic solution that is safe for children and pregnant women- as this tenant is pregnant). She did not get back to us for over a week (her father came in yelling at us saying that we did not do anything- she also owed us one month's rent and was not able to pay). We offered to go in and apply it properly- using the directions and steam cleaning the carpets as well. We also suggested that she get rid of the matress (seeing as how she said that was the initial problem area). She refused to do that and said she wants us to take care of the problem (she also cursed us out and said to evict her, so we are in the messy process).
1.In your opinion, did we not perform due diligence in this matter to a satisfactory degree?
2.After she is evicted, we are going to steam clean the carpets, throw away any remaining furinture, and spread the bed bug dust. Will this method work?
Your thoughts are greatly appreciated as this is a new issue for us (as far as a tenant that would not cooperate with our attempts to remove the pest).
Thank You for your time and assistance,
06 Jun 2012, 16:18
You are breaking the law. Your tenant could sue you for applying a pesticide without a license. To apply a pesticide in a place, other than your personal home, requires you to have a pesticide applicator's license. So, let the tenant go quietly into the night and hope there is no backlash. Then, call in a pro to do the job right and legally.
06 Jun 2012, 16:49
How/why do these companies exit if you cannot apply the organic compound yourself (just wondering, not attempting to argue)? They say that it is a cheap, do-it-yourself method.
Thank you again for your assistance.
06 Jun 2012, 16:59
24 Jul 2012, 13:32
25 Jul 2012, 12:22
22 Aug 2012, 19:16
My questions are:
1. Are we responsible for compensating for the inconvenience of having to pack her cupboards, empty drawers, etc (as exterminator has said this will lead to most effective extermination)?
2. If she claims respiratory issues demand it, are we required to use the organic solution? (which exterminator said is likely less effective and respiratory issues can be offset by vacating premises for longer period of time)
3. Is this a legitimate reason to break the lease if we have shown ourselves responsive to the issue?
We are in CA and I have been unable to find a similar situation since it appears usually the landlord refuses to exterminate.
15 Oct 2012, 16:29
15 Oct 2012, 16:37
14 Dec 2012, 04:18
19 Dec 2012, 20:04
20 Dec 2012, 10:15
21 Feb 2013, 23:03
28 Feb 2013, 21:45
06 Mar 2013, 13:43
dwelling units of a multi-unit dwelling, extermination is the responsibility of the
owner." Does this mean that I have legal rights to force the owner to pay for extermination if they find an infestation in the other half of the duplex? And, if so, how should I go about presenting this information tactfully to my property manager so I don't draw an eviction over it since I've tried to be civil about not being the one who brought this infestation to the house? The exterminator inspected EVERYTHING. He was very thorough and did not find any evidence that we moved the bugs into the house with us and we have never had any problems with any kind of infestation in any of the rental places we have lived over the past 8 years. Any help with this issue would be appreciated.
04 Aug 2013, 01:42
15 Aug 2013, 15:10
I just moved from my family's home into an apartment complex. I was unable to see any unit except for the model,but I was assured that the unit had just been painted and carpets replaced. I moved in on Tuesday evening (Aug 6) and had new couches and a mattress delivered the same evening. The following morning i noticed about 12-20 roaches scattering from the bathroom and kitchen, and as i was sitting on the couch, I thought I saw a flea jump off my hand! I let the management company know, they sent a general exterminator over and told me the flea was impossible since they just had the carpets replaced. I thought it was a random thing until I started waking up with bites. Now I'm scared that there are bed bugs and/or fleas and I have only been in this apt for 9 days! Let me also state that I have used boric acid, combat traps, I've bombed the house with flea foggers and used carpet flea spray. The management will not cover bed bugs if I have them, but I've only been there 9 days (getting bit for 4)...Please tell me what my rights are.
16 Aug 2013, 15:56
08 Dec 2013, 01:35