Bed bugs can appear in any type of home no matter how luxurious. In fact, some of the best hotels in NYC have had bed bug infestations. However, as a renter you are especially susceptible to getting them in your home.
Bed bugs can be brought into the home yourself, but as a renter, you may be dealing with a gift from the previous renters. No matter how the bugs got into your home, it is really important to get rid of them. And it is not going to be an easy process, sorry to say. Getting a can of bug spray is not going to get the job done in other words.
Which begs the question. Who is responsible for getting rid of the bed bugs in your apartment or house? Are you or your landlord going to be doing the dirty work?
In this article, I will go over several things you need to know when dealing with bed bugs in your rental home.
1 - Who pays for the exterminator?
As I mentioned in the introduction, it is quite complicated to get rid of bed bugs. It can be done yourself without using an exterminator, but doing it DIY can be time consuming and disruptive.
Your best best is to have an exterminator come and do it professionally while you are out of the house. It is far more effective as they have the experience and tools to do a more thorough job. You can check out pest control Atlanta to learn more about the process.
The issue is whp will pay for it. Landlords are notorious for not wanting to spend extra money. You may be lucky to have a landlord that already uses a pest control company regularly and will have no issue sending one out.
Who will pay for it depends on your local laws and what your lease says. One thing that can work in your favor is that during the exterminator’s inspection, they may be able to pinpoint how long the bugs have been there. If they find they came in before you moved there then you should have a good case that it is the landlord’s responsibility.
You may need to live outside the unit for a few days while the extermination is ongoing in which case your landlord will also need to pay for your hotel if you didn’t bring the bedbugs into the home.
2 - What if the landlord won’t pay?
You have to make sure that you are in the clear when it comes to how the bed bugs got there. If you are certain that the problem existed before you got there, then the landlord is legally obligated to take care of the property as it needed to be habitable before you moved in. Bed bugs are considered to be a factor in a home being declared inhabitable.
If the landlord won’t pay or take care of the problem, then you can hire an exterminator yourself to do the inspection and document the fact that the bed bugs were there first.
In which case, you can deduct the cost of the inspection as well as the extermination from your next month’s rent. Make sure to also send along a copy of all the receipts. If it is a particular egregious case, or, you simply can’t afford the upfront cost of hiring an exterminator, then you can withhold the entirety of the rent until the landlord takes action.
Make sure to check in with an attorney or your city’s housing resource department to find out what your rights are.
3 - Taking matters into your own hands
The last part of the process involves if you were the one to bring the bed bugs in yourself. If this is the case then your landlord can simply refuse to pay or can seek eviction if you don’t take care of the problem yourself.
You can get rid of them yourself, but it is a time consuming and labor intensive ordeal. If you can afford an exterminator then go this route.
If you can’t then you’ll need to do the following:
●Put all of your clothes and things like pillows and stuffed animals and put them in a sealed bag so the bugs suffocate
●Get rid of mattress and box spring, or buy an encase specifically for this purpose
●Vacuum everything including the bed frame and furniture in the infected room
●Seal any holes in the floor, walls or around windows to keep them from coming in through the walls
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