Recently California passed AB551 which addresses several issues about bed bugs. Here is a brief summary of the new legal requirements:
- Landlords cannot retaliate against a tenant for reporting bed bugs. This is very similar to a tenant reporting any other type of maintenance–for example, you shouldn’t raise their rent because they report a problem.
- Landlords cannot show and rent units that they are aware have bed bugs. This is self explanatory.
- Landlords will be required to include specific bed bug language in the lease for new tenants beginning July 2017 and for existing tenants January 2018.
- Landlords are required to give notice before entering a unit to inspect or treat bed bugs. Tenants are required to cooperate.
- Landlords are required to notify the tenants of the result of a bed bug inspection that was conducted by a pest control company. This has to be done within two days of the landlord receiving the report.
Bed bugs have become a challenging issue over the past few years. Many people believe that they are the result of poor housekeeping by a tenant but that is not typically the base. Bed bugs travel easily and are usually brought in from the outside, or travel from one unit to another attached unit.
Regardless of the source, the landlord is still responsible for eradicating the pests, which can take time and be a lot more costly than other pests. If the landlord can prove that the tenant was the cause then the landlord can bill the tenant, but proving the source is a difficult task. One of the most important things to remember with bed bugs is to act promptly if they are discovered to prevent further infestation.