Bed Bugs and other issues…
This article “Landlord Liability for Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Bacteria” appeared in the “NOLO Law for All” site and whether or not there is or is not a connection with MRSA, I think we should all be more vigilant in our encounters with Bed Bugs. So here are some of my concerns, as I see them. By the way I’m not an attorney or a medical doctor but I do report myself to be “Dr. Bug” but anyway back to what I consider the issues.
After having dealt with this issue for the last 3 years, I empathize for landlords because ultimately it comes down to the fact that no matter who brought them in, you are responsible. At the end of the day it’s your building and these littler buggers could move to another unit and the issues just start compounding. I will add my biggest recommendation – document, document and document. Keep excellent records and keep them in one place, handy to get to and again document everything.
Here is an excerpt from the article – please follow the link above to read the entire article, its well worth your time.
What This Means for Landlord and Tenants
The implications of this study for landlords and tenants are significant. A widespread bedbug infestation has always qualified as a habitability problem, which, if not addressed, enables tenants in all states except for Arkansas to break their leases and leave, without liability for future rent. Tenants in some states can withhold rent until the habitability problem is fixed or can take steps to deal with the problem themselves and deduct costs from the rent. Typically, however, landlords have a reasonable time to fix a habitability problem before tenants can utilize their remedies.
But, if bedbugs are proven to be vectors for staph infections on the order of MRSA, the stakes have been raised dramatically. A “reasonable time” may be much faster than previously thought. And if tenants contract an MRSA infection as the result of the landlords’ inattention to the problem, the tenant’s measure of damages goes way beyond what it would be if the bedbugs’ bites were merely annoying.
Here is the link to House Bill 2210