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What Should You Do if Your Rental Property Has Bed Bugs

Bed bugs were common globally until the early 1940s when they were mostly eradicated due to the use of DDT.  They returned in 1972 when DDT was banned.  An infestation of human habitats has increased since 1995 due to resistance to approved pesticides, increased international travel, high population density, and other factors.

Hand holding a magnifying glass to demonstrate a bed bug infestation

Bed bugs in hotels have made headlines lately, but what about bedbugs in rental homes? Chantal LeBlanc, Business Development Director at Real Property Management Excellence, says “Considering how many properties are rented, thankfully bed bugs are a rare occurrence for us.”

If a bedbug situation arises, however, it should be dealt with immediately as bugs can live up to 400 days without a human host.   At Real Property Management Excellence, we mitigate your risk by being knowledgeable on state and local laws, including health department laws, as well as suggesting qualified pest control companies for preventive maintenance.

Pest control is usually a tenant responsibility, except in multi-family housing or in certain states. If bed bugs are discovered, your property manager should work with you to address the situation quickly to preserve your property while simultaneously following up with the tenants and owners regarding their roles and responsibilities.

We make sure that this situation is taken care of immediately, complying with the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) published by the US Dept. of Housing.  Keeping the house clean, conducting regular inspections, and having a pest control company evaluate your property prior to a tenant moving in can minimize the risks and costs associated with bedbugs and other insects.

So, who is responsible for pest control?

The best time for pest control is before you see roaches, spiders, ants, termites, etc. Being proactive in this area is a good idea, but can often be forgotten about, especially if this is your first rental home and haven’t experienced this problem.

A question that often doesn’t come up until it’s too late –Who’s responsible to provide pest control in a rental property, the tenant or the landlord? The truth of the matter is that it depends on the situation.

Worker exterminator in protective workwear spraying pesticide in apartment kitchen.To ensure it gets taken care of, some property owners will take responsibility and include the pest control cost in the lease. Others leave the responsibility to the tenants. Whatever your choice, make sure you have outlined the responsibility in your lease and have the tenant “sign off” on it.

In some states, pest control is mandatory and required by local health code laws, especially if your rental property is multi-family since infestations are harder to control in a property that houses more than one family.

If you aren’t sure of your local laws regarding pest control, we are here to help. Real Property Management Excellence is the leader in professional property management which means, we are here to provide you with the best service, knowledge, and expertise in the industry.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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