Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of removing bedbugs, especially in a rental property. However, bedbugs can easily make their way into your rental home without you even knowing it. Whether they come from someone’s clothes, luggage, or bedding, they can quickly become a nuisance and must be removed immediately. So, let’s go over who’s responsible and some methods of treating and preventing bedbugs in a rental home.
How do Bedbugs Spread from Place to Place?
To understand how bedbugs infested your property in the first place, it’s essential to know how they spread. Without determining the source, it may be challenging to get rid of bedbugs for good. That said, bedbugs can survive in temperatures ranging from 46 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit and are often found within 8 feet of a bed or sleeping area.
Since they feed on blood, bedbug bites can quickly become irritating, annoying, and itchy. Although they don’t carry diseases, having bedbugs is an extreme inconvenience- and they spread easily.
Since they don’t have wings, bedbugs travel by crawling. However, since they are so small, many people spread bedbugs unknowingly by traveling with them attached to their clothing or bedding. That said, once they are in a home, they can travel within walls, through floors, open ceilings, or on pipes.
Unlike lice, bedbugs don’t directly travel from or attach to people. Instead, they stick to clothes and bedding, meaning that you could transfer them to others without realizing it. Now, let’s go over some of the signs you may encounter if your property has bedbugs.
How Can You Tell if a Property Has Bedbugs?
Determining whether or not your property has bed bugs can sometimes be challenging. However, there are a few signs that you should look for if you suspect an infestation. Some of the most common indications of bedbugs include:
- Tiny red stains on pillowcases or sheets, indicating bugs that may have gotten crushed
- Small, dark dots on pillowcases or sheets, which may be bedbug excrement
- Bug bites on legs, arms, neck, or face
- Little eggs or eggshells from bugs
- Tiny yellow exoskeletons, which bedbugs shed as they grow
- Strong or musty odor coming from your bed or clothes pile
- Live or dead bed bugs themselves
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t wait to take care of the issue at hand. Bedbugs can travel quickly and infest other homes if you don’t attack the problem immediately.
However, it can be tricky if you are in a rental property. If you aren’t sure who is responsible for taking care of them, talk to your landlord or property manager right away. So, let’s go over who is responsible for getting rid of bedbugs in a rental home.
Are Landlords Responsible For Bedbugs?
When it comes to bedbugs in a rental property, it can be tricky to determine who brought them into the home or apartment complex. That said, if it’s unclear who brought them in, landlords should do research to decide whether or not they came from a tenant or there is an infestation throughout the whole building.
With that, in Maryland, landlords are responsible for exterminating bed bugs before renting or leasing a unit to someone. However, people who occupy single-family homes will then be responsible for removing them if an infestation happens while they reside there. On the other hand, multi-occupancy units are handled differently. In this case, landlords are responsible for the extermination costs of any pests.
Before and during renting out a unit to a tenant, landlords should perform routine inspections to ensure the property is appropriately maintained. If a tenant comes across a bedbug issue, let’s go over how to remove these pests from a rental home.
Do Landlords Have to Disclose Bedbug Issues?
In some states and cities, laws require landlords to disclose a rental unit’s bedbug history if a tenant asks about it. On the other hand, some states require landlords to disclose bedbug history even if the tenant does not ask. That said, most laws prevent landlords from renting a property with a known or current bedbug infestation.
Besides disclosing bedbug history in your rental unit, other laws may require landlords to:
- Educate tenants about bedbugs, such as what they look like or how to spot an infestation
- Require tenants to report infestations immediately
- Investigate bedbug infestations immediately
- Hire exterminators to get rid of the infestation
- Notify all tenants of bedbug issues
With that, if a bedbug problem arises at your rental property, you must act quickly to get the issue resolved. Similarly, it would help to let future tenants know that there has been an infestation in the past.
What Happens if You Don’t Disclose a Bedbug Issue?
If a landlord does not disclose bedbug issues in their rental property, tenants may explore a few different options to move forward. For example, some laws allow tenants to break their lease agreement and leave without paying rent. Similarly, tenants may withhold their rent payments while repairs are made to the property. Lastly, in the worst bedbug situations, tenants may sue for damages.
How Can You Remove Bedbugs from a Rental?
If bedbugs are spotted in a rental home, they need to be addressed and removed immediately. Contact pest control when there is an infestation and let them know the issue. Once pest control is aware of the pest problem, they will begin treating it. For bedbugs, treatments include multiple sprays of pesticides over many weeks.
Bedbugs are found in many places, such as mattress seams, headboard fabric, behind picture frames, along carpet edges, in curtains, and more. Keep an eye on these critical areas if you think you may have a bedbug issue in your home.
That said, removal treatments depend on the severity of the infestation and the pest control group you decide to work with. The key to keeping bedbugs away from your rental property is keeping it clean. Now, let’s go over some other ways of preventing bedbugs in a rental home.
Preventing Bedbugs in a Rental Property
Whether you’ve experienced an infestation before or not, it should be a goal to keep bedbugs away from your living environment. Luckily, there are many things landlords and tenants can do to prevent them from sneaking in unnoticed. So, let’s go over a few ways of preventing bedbugs in a rental property.
- Reduce clutter from bedrooms and living spaces
- Vacuum the floors often
- Wash pillowcases and bedding frequently
- Clean walls, furniture, and carpeting often
- Inspect mattress and other household furniture
- Use mattress covers to keep pests out
- Seal cracks around windows, doors, and walls
Part of preventing bedbugs includes protecting your furniture and other property. So, some other techniques you can use to keep bedbugs away may consist of:
- Move or disassemble furniture around your home
- Use high heat or steaming solutions to kill bedbug adults and eggs
- If you can’t afford to get rid of furniture, keep it sealed with a plastic covering until bedbugs are all gone
- Avoid purchasing second-hand furniture for your home
- Keep up with general hygiene around the rental property
If these prevention methods don’t work and you end up with bedbugs in your rental, don’t panic. Although bedbug infestations in rental properties are unpleasant, they are relatively common. So, if you happen to spot a bedbug on any of your furniture or bedding, seek help from your landlord or exterminator immediately.
Need Help Managing Your Rental Home?
Keeping your rental clean, well-maintained, and free of pests is an essential standard for most rental businesses. However, it can be difficult for one person to oversee everything in a rental. Luckily, your local property management professionals are qualified and prepared to help you maintain all aspects of your rental business.
Bay Property Management Group offers a full-service approach to property management in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and surrounding counties. Since no task is too large, rental owners can count on us for a wide range of leasing services. For example, we handle tenant screening, move-in, and move-out reports, maintenance issues, rent collection, and more.
If you are a landlord struggling to keep up with the never-ending daily tasks of owning a rental home, contact us today to learn more about our services.