Bed Bugs in Apartments

Everything you need to know if you think you have bed bugs in your apartment. Bottom line: You have rights!

When you move into an apartment, you expect it to be clean and ready for you to live your life to its fullest. Instead, if you discover that there are bed bugs in your apartment building, you might wonder what your options are. In most cases, it is almost impossible to determine that a particular apartment or building has a bed bug infestation. This is especially true if the apartment you're renting is not furnished.

Bed Bugs in Your Apartment Building

The discovery of bed bugs in your apartment building will likely make you question where they came from. It's unfortunate that in many cases, a bed bug infestation can start in one apartment and travel to another without anyone being aware of it until it's too late. The best way to prevent such a spread is for the landlord, apartment manager or building owner to be very proactive by responding quickly and appropriately to the threat.

What if There are Bed Bugs in the Apartment Next Door?

If you discover that the apartment next door to yours has bed bugs, it's imperative that the management company or landlord takes action immediately. Doing so could prevent the spread of these pests from that apartment to your own. However, it is equally likely that by the time a bed bug infestation is discovered, it is too late to prevent its spread to other nearby apartments.

Your first step when learning that a nearby apartment has a bed bug infestation is to find out if the management knows about the problem. After you inform them about the issue, there should be robust action aimed at controlling and eliminating it. Even if the management deems the apartment building free of pests, you still need to be vigilant about their possible presence.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs in an Apartment Building

One of the most effective methods of containment of a bed bug infestation and its spread is prompt action by the landlord, property owner or building manager in the form of professional treatment. However, knowing how to prevent bed bugs in the first place is a tactic that is often easier and more effective.

Mattresses, beds and similar types of furniture are often hiding spots for bed bugs who are then transported to an apartment when a new resident moves in. A careful inspection by the residents before they move these kinds of belongings to a new place can reduce the risks of bed bugs.

Keeping apartments free of clutter and washing clothing and bed linens regularly removes favorite hiding places of these pests. Clutter can make it difficult for treatment to be successful if bed bugs are reported. Reduce the risk of bed bugs infesting your apartment by keeping your bed away from the walls and making sure that any bed skirts don't skim the floor. This is because it's possible for bed bugs to travel through apartment walls.

There is much that management can do to prevent a bed bug infestation. The first course of action should be to educate all residents about bed bugs including what they look like, how to spot them, methods of prevention and what their responsibilities are if the pests are spotted. Of course, ultimately, it is not the responsibility of the residents to prevent the spread of bed bugs.

For this reason, the management needs to ensure that the bed bug hiding places are sealed. This means that cracks along the moldings, floors and baseboards are sealed. Building damage such as peeling paint and wallpaper should either be promptly repaired or removed completely.

Any belongings that are left by previous tenants should be bagged securely while being held for the time stated by law. If left unclaimed, these items should be discarded in a safe and sanitary manner to prevent an infestation of bed bugs. Belongings of current residents that are discovered to harbor the pests should be discarded in such a manner that renders them impossible to use by any other person.

As part of the apartment building's regular maintenance schedule, inspections by the management of the individual apartments and common areas should be undertaken. Professional treatment by a pest control company must be completed if any signs of bed bugs are discovered.

Can I Sue for Bed Bugs in my Apartment?

If you have been unfortunate enough to live in an apartment building that has bed bugs, you might wonder what rights you have. After all, an apartment building with bed bugs means that you must take some drastic actions to prevent the infestation of your own home. The issue becomes even more serious if you and your family have been attacked by these pests.

Not only might you have to destroy your bedding, mattresses and other furniture, but you could also incur the embarrassment and medical bills that are required to treat the bites of the bed bugs. You might also wonder if you have grounds to break your lease.

There are no cookie-cutter answers to these questions. The best approach is to contact an attorney who has experience with cases of bed bug infestations.