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Bed Bugs in Your Rental: What Should You Do?

Bed bug problems are common in certain cities. Examples are Cleveland OH, Los Angeles CA, and Chicago IL. As someone who runs a rental property business in a city that's known to be infested by bed bugs, you'd probably wonder if you or your renter should be the one responsible for dealing with bed bugs. The answer to this question is that it depends. It depends on whoever brought the bed bugs into the rental - and identification is the key.

Here's What You Should Know About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that don't fly but tend to move quickly over surfaces - walls, floors, and ceilings. When female bed bugs lay eggs, they're hundreds and are nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Although bed bugs aren't known to cause disease as stated by the CDC, they're considered a nuisance because their bites are really itchy and may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Not to mention, they interrupt your sleep!

So, where do these pests hide? They hide where the fabric meets furniture, in mattresses, headboards, and even in your luggage. Basically, these creatures easily fit into tiny spaces. 

Your Responsibility As A Landlord

As a landlord, it's your responsibility to thoroughly inspect the rental before a tenant moves in. By doing this, you can be sure that you had nothing to do with the bed bug infestation if ever tenants complain during their stay. Once you're able to confirm the presence of bed bugs, deal with the problem right away. 

How will you know that your rental has a bed bug issue? Pay attention to these telltale signs...

  • Blood stains on your bed sheets 
  • Musty odor (this comes from their sweat glands, although not all people are sensitive to the odor)
  • Rusty spots of bed bug excrement

Call A Bed Bug Exterminator

Whether you suspect an infestation or a tenant of yours frantically calls you to report bed bug problems, the last thing you should do is panic. Stay calm and know that the best way to diagnose the issue is to call a qualified exterminator. For now, we can also assume that it could be fleas or roaches. 

If you spotted the problem before a tenant moves in, you will be the one to pay for the exterminator. However, if you can establish that the tenant introduced the bed bugs, then he should be responsible for paying for the service. 

Expect that the exterminators will move furniture, use steam treatments, and professional insecticides. 

Tips To Prevent And Control Bed Bugs

It's crucial to keep bed bugs at bay at all times. You and your tenants should cooperate when it comes to keeping the rental as clean and as pest-free as possible. Here are simple things to keep in mind:

  • Vacuum everything! This includes rugs, furniture, and cracks.
  • Wash everything as well, from the beddings to the blankets. 
  • Since bed bugs like to hide in dark areas, make sure to remove any clutter.

Telling Tenants About Bed Bugs 

There are states and cities that have laws about disclosing bed bugs to tenants. These laws specify whether you should make the disclosure even before a tenant asks or when the tenant asks. You may also be required to let tenants know that they need to report a suspected infestation right away. 

If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!