Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bed Bugs & Tenants Rights

I have been hearing a lot about bed bugs in the news lately.  As a tenants' rights lawyer, I hear often from people who wonder what to do when the property they rent is infested with bed bugs.  They are terrible.  I have yet to meet anyone who has had to deal with a bed bug infestation that wasn't deeply effected and distraught by the experience.  If you have leased an apartment or house and upon moving in find that you are waking up with bite marks, then it's important to educate yourself about whether the property has bed bugs.  If it does, you need to act quickly.   There is a lot of good information available on the internet about bed bugs.  I like this blog http://bedbugger.com because it has a lot of information and is updated fairly often.  

If you are satisfied that it is bed bugs that are afflicting you, make sure that you begin to keep careful records of your experience.  Take photos. Get pictures of the bite marks, of the tracks left by the bugs, the skins that are shed by the growing nymphs, and anything else that shows the presence of the bugs.  Take notes of any problems caused by the infestation.  You will quickly find that an important part of containing and escaping a bed bug infested property is throwing out furniture and other personal property where they live.  Those items that you don't throw away need to be quarantined for up to 18 months.  These consequences are inconvenient and expensive, but unfortunately, if you don't keep good records of the costs of replacing these items, it will be hard to get any compensation from your landlord or management company.

Keep a journal of the timeline of events with specific dates and times.  If you have new bites when you awake, make an entry explaining how many bites there are and their location.  When you make a complaint to the landlord or the management make sure that you do it in writing.  Your complaint should have a date and clearly identify the property address.  Make a notation in your journal of any conversation that you have about the complaint, and make sure to keep copies of all the complaints that you make.  If you live in an apartment complex, ask other tenants about who lived in the unit before you moved in.  Ask if they ever made complaints about bed bugs, or if anyone else in the complex has also had problems with bed bugs.  Make entries in your journal about these conversations.

It's important to also understand that your landlord will not be happy to hear any mention of problems with bed bugs, and may quickly act to try to cause problems for you.  There's no reason to expect that a landlord who is leasing a bed bug infested property will simply admit his or her fault and compensate you for your losses.  More than likely, the landlord will first look to assign the blame to you.

If you have suspicions that your landlord knew that the apartment or house had problems with bed bugs before leasing it, then don't hesitate to talk to a lawyer.  Landlords usually have lawyers.  The smart landlords find good attorneys and consult them often.  Don't make the mistake of just relying on your landlord to take care of the problem without finding out all the relevant information you can, and then speaking to someone who can tell you about your rights and how to assert them.

2 comments:

  1. Many individuals nowadays are unacquainted with bed insects signs. It is easy to understand since bed insects together with some insects have been exterminated during the extensive use of DDT in the U. s. Declares after World War I. But because of worldwide journey and immigration law, these insects signs are making a return. But individuals don't identify these signs until someone gripes of extreme itchiness and has oval-shaped pest chew represents which are often wrong as several or insects attacks.
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  2. Bugs on every tenants house is not really good! I really hate having this kind of problem every time I rent a apartment.
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