Who Should Deal with Bed Bugs? Landlord or Tenant

bed bugs in home

If you’re buying a second property to rent out there are of course certain obligations that you’ll have to meet as a landlord. One of the not so clear areas though is the nasty surprise of bed bugs.

Is it the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant to deal with these pests? Who should take the lead in ridding premises of these parasites? This advice from the team at Sloane & Sons will hopefully clear it up a bit.

Small but Strong

Bed bugs may be small but given the chance they can soon take over. Incredibly fast at multiplying, these nuisances can lay as many as five eggs every day which take just a few weeks to mature to adult size.

Rented homes with such an infestation pose the question of who should be dealing with an outbreak. There are a few points to consider, with the answer to the initial question being dependent on the answer to these

Responsibility of the Tenant

The responsibility falls on the tenant if they have brought the bugs with them from their previous address or anywhere else. Bed bugs are incredibly resilient and can cling onto upholstery, clothing and a whole host of materials.

If the tenant introduced bed bugs to a previously unaffected building, it is their responsibility to deal with any infestation. If there is proof that the infestation was already present, the landlord has to assume responsibility.

Proving that bedbugs were already living in the premises can be tricky – especially if the tenant has only just noticed that they’re there.

Responsibility of the Landlord

To counteract this, landlords should make sure that any rental properties are checked and cleared of parasites before a tenant moves in. Remember, any infestation problem that dates back to before the occupant’s tenancy is to be dealt with by the landlord.

Again, conclusively deciding the exact date of the infestation is by no means easy. They have a knack for rearing their heads from nowhere. What appears like a new breed of pests may actually be a few months old.

Actively ensuring that the building is clear of the parasites, though, relieves any arguments in the future. If a landlord can prove that they had no knowledge of bed bugs before a tenant moving in, a lesser degree of liability might be granted but the necessary measures must still be taken.

Moving to the Future

Regardless of the responsible person for the disinfection, before anyone can live there, the premises, including mattresses, sofas and upholstery, should be comprehensively sanitised. Of course, you might want to take steps in preventing further bed bug problems.

Investing in memory foam mattresses, buying new bedding and vacuuming frequently and keeping clutter to a minimum can discourage the spread of bed bugs. Whether your property is rented out or you’re living there yourself, you don’t want bed bugs having free reign over your building.

The accepted courtesy is usually to carry out the aforementioned checking whilst the premises are unoccupied. This check should be noted in the tenancy agreement with actions if any infestation pops up in the future.

With this in place, everybody knows where they stand and potential infestations can be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

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