Oh no! Did you just discover the apartment or home you rented in Cleveland, Ohio has bed bugs? First, don’t blame yourself, this happens to even the most expensive apartments and homes. Bed bugs are crawly travelling critters that can catch a ride in your luggage, used furniture, and even on clothing. These pests can even travel from other apartments or units in your building, especially if adjoining units aren’t treated properly.
Bed Bug BBQ often receives calls from tenants of rental properties who aren’t sure if they have bed bugs and want to confirm prior to contacting their landlord. Despite the fact that sometimes they may turn out to be fleas or garden variety pests it is critical you inform your landlord immediately. Inspections from pest management companies, including Bed Bug BBQ, are 100% free. More information on bed bug identification can be found here.
At Bed Bug BBQ we have compiled our top recommendations for how to deal with a bed bug infestation below. Tip: Going to the store and buying a can of spray is absolutely not going to do the job.
Report Bed Bug Problems to Your Property Manager/Landlord!
At the slightest suspicion of a bed bug infestation or contact with bed bugs you should immediately call your landlord and/or property manager. As a landlord it is their responsibility to act swiftly and bring in a qualified exterminator to accurately inspect and precisely identify bed bugs. They will be required to give you proper notice of entry for the exterminators inspection and as a tenant you should be willing to cooperate. Many cites and states, including Lakewood Ohio, have specific laws regarding the specific duties, time frame of notification by the tenant, and response by landlord regarding bed bug infestations. A list of state bed bug laws can be found here. Here is an example bed bug notification form for tenants to send their landlord.
Prepare for the Bed Bug BBQ Inspection
To ensure the inspection and identification on bed bugs is accurate we recommend preparing yourself and home. To be most prepared, you should contact Bed Bug BBQ and speak with a technician regarding the inspection process. Our technicians will examine common places that bed bugs hide (like your bed – no kidding right?) as well as drawers, cabinets, laundry rooms, and closets. A key component in inspection of rental properties is mapping the infestation to identify additional units they may have spread as well as identifying the source. Regardless of what some articles may claim, bed bugs are a no-fault infestation, and as such your landlord should not blame you.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
While many other extermination companies simply come in, treat your property, and leave Bed Bug BBQ has a comprehensive eradication procedure that is how we offer up to 60 day guarantees on our treatment. The process for our treatments can be found by going to our Rental Property Bed Bug Heat Treatment Process page.
Here are some great recommendations from our team regarding preparation for the treatment:
- Remove the clutter from your home. While our treatments do kill 100% of bed bugs in the majority of properties it requires that the heat can permeate into all crevices and cracks so the less clutter the better.
- Remove items from closets, shelves, and drawers under the guidance of our team.
- Wash and dry one set of bedding and clothing on high heat then seal in plastic bags immediately after removing from the dryer. The clothing will be used the day of treatment to ensure you aren’t taking the bugs with you.
It’s important to follow the recommendations of our technicians not only because they are experienced in bed bug eradication but also because it will allow us to provide a warranty on your treatment and mitigate the risk of having to go through the process more than once.
Who Pays for Bed Bug Extermination and Relocation Costs?
In compliance with the landlords responsibility to provide habitable housing they must pay to exterminate any pests, such as bed bugs, that a tenant has not explicitly introduced. In some sates, such as Florida, this responsibility is explicit. Determining where the infestation originated from (and who is responsible for the treatment cost) is often difficult in multi-tenant units largely in part due to the transient nature of occupation and close proximity of individual units. Tenants may have recently traveled, had a visitor, or purchased used items infested with bed bugs. As a result it is generally the responsibility of a landlord to cover the cost of a treatment except in the case of long-term tenants or tenants of single family homes where the landlord can prove an inspection was performed prior to occupation of the current tenant.
Depending on the situation of your infestation, if your landlord fails to take action, you may be eligible under state and federal law to:
- Withhold rent payment until the infestation is eradicated.
- Deduct costs of extermination from rent payments.
- Break your lease early and vacate the property.
- Sue the landlord for damages.
It is generally best to consult an attorney prior to taking the above listed actions as the law varies from state to state and city to city.
An important note regarding responsibility is that if an infestation is caused by the tenant it is the tenants financial responsibility. With this being said, some renters insurance policies should cover the costs of moving and/or replacing damaged belongings.
Important Right to Know About History of Bed Bug Problems in Rental Properties
As a tenant you don’t want to move yourself or your family into a rental unit that has any infestations or other major issues. Many states have laws regarding the requirement of a landlord to disclose bed bug infestations.