Bedbugs, illegal lease clause

By Loni

My litter sister, Stephanie Snyder, is renting from the Alameda Apartments in Lakewood. She signed the lease with her fiancé on June 16, 2008; they moved in together with their three year old. Since they moved in, she has had abnormal skin irritations and been very fatigued. She has been really sick for the last six months with a rash covering her body. The doctors have given her antihistamines and told her they were insect bites. Two weeks ago, she saw a bedbug on the bed. With further inspection, she found many; she even caught some in a jar. The neighbor said that the last tenant had moved out because of bedbugs, and the dumpster for the apartment complex regularly has a mattress in it. The manager of the apartment complex told her when she moved in that the room had been treated three years ago for “pests” and, without any prompting, assured her there was no bedbug problem. She didn’t think much of this until two weeks ago when the infestation was noticed.

My sister threw away their mattress and verbally told the manager that she found bedbugs on February 27. The manager accused her of bringing them and told my sister, “I saw that mattress you threw away and it was covered with them; I have pictures!” This is the first apartment Stephanie and her family have rented, since moving out from my mom’s. There are no bugs at my mom’s house. The manager called Terminix to come and inspect the apartment, a man came out on Saturday, March 7. The apartment has some sort of contract with this company to do pest control. The man determined that there was no problem, that “there were no signs of bed bugs.” He however still sprayed the premises. Terminix is scheduled to come out again on the seventeenth for a follow up inspection (and I am confident that they will conclude there is no infestation). Yesterday, March 9, my sister went back to the apartment to check it, and found live bugs inside still. The manager had a maintenance employee hand Stephanie bill for the March rent, a late fee, and the pest control costs.

They had a six month lease which expired on January 31, 2009. After the lease term, all clauses of the lease are still in full effect and goes onto a month-to-month basis. There is a clause in the lease that states “There is no implied covenant of quite enjoyment or warranty of habitability of the apartment associated with this lease.” Which under the new law, passed September 1, 2008, is an illegal clause; since the lease renewed on February 1, 2009, she should be entitled to the warranty of habitability.

My sister wrote a letter to the management on March 9, 2009; the letter informed them that there are still live bugs in the apartment, that they are in breach of the lease contract and requested that their damaged belongings be replaced. My sister feels that they have been defrauded into even signing the lease when they moved in; the management has known about this infestation and has not taken adequate measures to control it. Pam Miller has compromised with the exterminator, denied important information to tenants regarding their health, and lies about the situation in order to avoid responsibility. My sister has hired a second exterminator, at her expense, to come out and inspect the apartment complex; they will arrive tomorrow, March 11, 2009, around 11:00 A.M. I don’t believe the manager is justified in demanding rent payment, late charges, and the pest control fees when they deny my sister a habitable environment. The failure to rid the apartment of bedbugs is a denial of essential services; they are attempting to get around this fact by hiring exterminators who will “find no bedbugs” at their explicit request.

Jennifer Evans


Alameda Apartments

Property Manager: Pam Miller

9423 W. Alameda Ave.

Lakewood, CO, 80226


Edited on: Monday, December 6th, 2010 10:30 pm

28 Responses to “Bedbugs, illegal lease clause”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


March 10th, 2009 7:03 pm

Are bed bugs cause for breach of implied warranty of habitability? Yes. Bed bug infestations are most definitely considered a habitability issue. You see Bed bugs are classified as parasites, thus a bed bug problem is much different than other infestations. Having hundreds of parasites feed on you nightly is a landlord problem and should be entirely covered by the landlord and not the tenant. Failing to properly treat for bed bugs is a breach of habitability laws.

Landlords will attempt to hold tenants responsible for bed bug cost, but SHOULD NOT and cannot unless there was some type of prior arrangement that the tenant agreed to. (unlikely)

If your landlord is trying to hold you responsible for bed bugs, you should immediately file a complaint with the RPA. Here is the link to the complaint form:

Don’t let your landlords victimize you and hold you responsible for bed bugs!! Its your legal right to dispute the bed bug responsibility. Tenants should not be responsible for bed bug removal cost.

Filing a formal complaint is really the first step to protecting tenants rights when it comes to bed bugs. It will document the bed bug infestation, and provide legal help to get the landlord to immediately provide proper bed bug treatment. After filing, there is an option to have your case rushed (you’ll want to do that!)


March 10th, 2009 10:23 pm

Hi Loni,
I was just reading up on your sisters landlord problem and thought I would provide some additional advice. First I want to comment on the question you posed about the illegal lease clause. Truth be told many lease agreements have incorrect or even illegal verbage within their lease agreements. This is primarily due to the ever changing laws. Here’s the bad news… If there is a clause that is contradicting a rent law, it makes the clause unenforceable, but the agreement stays in tact. This is what is considered “Severability.” Its a fancy way of saying that if any part of the agreement is broken or in violation to a law, the remainder of the contract will still remain in effect.

You would think that by having a clause or statement within a lease that clearly contradicts the law would make the contract null and void, but that’s not how rental agreements work. Many times attorneys will purposely include bogus lease clauses in hopes that the tenant will think it is a valid clause and not dispute it. Its a sneaky way to prevent problems from tenants or to hold it against them.

As was mentioned earlier. Your sister is still required to pay her rent. She can be frustrated, and feel taken advantage of… but she is legally responsible to keep her end of the contract, which is to pay rent on-time as agreed.

The law does not require landlords to disclose the presence of pest such as bed bugs, termites, or even cock roaches. Even if management was aware of the bed bug infestation, it would be an ethical issue more than a legal one. Your sister should be able to demand that the she terminate her agreement early without penalty or that the unit be fumigated.

This is a tough one… but I don’t think you have a law you can lean on. I’ve never heard of bed bugs being considered a habitability issue. If it was, anyone that wanted to get out of a lease could infest their unit with bed bugs and blaim it on management just to get out of the lease. I’m certain you will find no law that places bed bug problems on the manager. Bed bugs can come from anywhere.


March 10th, 2009 8:54 pm

What about the the illegal clauses in the lease? Wouldn’t the lease be considered invalid? Even though the management has attempted to fix the problem, there are currently live bugs in the apartment. Bedbugs are considered a class B problem, and the management would therefore have thirty days to fix the situation.


March 10th, 2009 9:04 pm

The same apartment has been treated for bed bugs before my sister moved in. The last tenant vacated because of them. “In order to avoid liability to the next tenant for the potential infestation of the new tenant’s personal property, the landlord will have to either have a reasonable belief that the infestation has been permanently eradicated or disclose the possibility of insect infestation to the prospective tenant. Otherwise the tenant may end up with a textbook case of Negligent or Fraudulent Concealment against the landlord.” (According to Apartment Trends magazine, the state of Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability law requires the landlord to provide appropriate extermination.)

The landlord did not inform her of the possibility of infestation.


March 10th, 2009 9:20 pm

What about the exterminator that the apartment complex provided? He found “no evidence of bed bugs” when there were and still are live bugs? The neighbor today said the hall way was not treated nor any of the adjacent apartments inspected. It seems that the manager is not providing appropriate extermination to the common areas as well as to the residential unit.


March 10th, 2009 11:35 pm

My sister has severe allergic reactions from the bites. For the last seven months she has had a prominent itchy rash all over her (affecting her physical well being), she’s been to the doctor numerous times. She has been fatigued, suffered from migraines, allergenic asthma, and now can’t sleep well, a sign of Post Tramatic Stress. The fact that this situation has interfered with her health seems to make the bedbugs a habitability issue.

38-12-505(f) Common areas and areas under the control of the landlord that are kept reasonably clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and that have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin;

38-12-505(g) Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;

where vermin are defined as – Various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.

13-21-115(2) In any civil action brought against a landowner by a person who alleges injury occurring while on the real property of another and by reason of the condition of such property, or activities conducted or circumstances existing on such property, the landowner shall be liable only as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

13-21-115(3)(b)(II) By the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew.

It seems that there is some type of fraud between the apartment management and the exterminator as well.


March 10th, 2009 11:43 pm

Also, if she had been informed of the prior infestestion or notified of the risks for a recurring infestation , she never would have entered into the lease agreement. The management with held information from my sister that was imperative to her decision to live there. She would never have knowingly allowed for her son to be in an environment in which he would be bitten, much less bitten regularly.

Ben Barros

April 17th, 2009 7:04 am

Any issue like this is state specific, and I don’t know anything about Colorado law. But here are two points. First, Anonymous’s description of implied warranty of habitability law does not seem correct to me. I don’t think there is any need to show that the initial infestation of bedbugs are the landlord’s fault. The tenant has to give the landlord a chance to fix the problem; if the landlord fails to do so, then the landlord is at fault. Second, there is precedent that supports the proposition that a bedbug infestation is a violation of the implied warranty of habitability. Just Google “bedbug impled warranty of habitability” and you can easily find New York cases on the subject. Again, Colorado law may be different.


April 21st, 2009 8:58 pm

My daughter has rented a 1 bdrm apt in El Cajon, CA. and moved in the month of March 09. First off, the apartment was extremely filthy at the time she moved in. They had put in new carpet in the living room and painted but the bathroom sinks, counters, floors, toilet, mirrors, drawers and tub were very dirty. The linen cupboards had dirty debis in them as well as the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen, the windows throughout, the blinds, pretty much everything was a mess. When my daughter brought all this to the managers attention, he became defensive saying that he hired a professional to clean. My ex and myself were there when all this happened. There were also many repairs that needed to be taken care of. My daughter noticed that while she was at work, that someone had entered and done some of the repairs w/o them having authorization to enter. The next problem came after she had only lived there for 2 weeks before she realized that she was being bitten by something. She had many bites like welts that itched like crazy. She informed her manager that she had seen a bed bug. The manager had an sxterminating co come out and inspect. They confirmed that they also had seen a bed bug and informed her that she needed to bag all her bedroom belongings and to store them somewhere outside in the sun to kill any that may have found their way to the clothing. My daughter is a single parent of a 2 yr old and is 7 months pregnant. She had to prep her whole apt even taking her bed apart emptying all drawers and closets for the scheduled spray. She bought an airmattress to sleep on in the living room while they had treated her place 2 times, a week apart. When she brought her bags back to her place, my daughter and I were putting her bed together on the rails when she noticed 2 live bed bugs. She immediately went to get the manager. He called the exterminating co. My daughter talked with the exterminators the next day asking if they could come out and spray again. They said that he didn’t know he would get back with her. My daughter had been very sick during the spraying treatments that we had gone to the emergency room for her to be treated and especially since she is pregnant. The dr said she had an upper resporatory infection and prescribed antibiotics for her. While we were at the hospital, the exterminators came out w/o authoriztion and sprayed again and we didn’t get to prep the apt for the spray, thereby getting all her bedding on the airmattress wet as well as her daughters toys that were not covered and her pillows and clothes. I told my daughter that she couldn’t stay there since she was very sick with a bad cough and the carpet and walls were dripping with spay. The manager was informed and shown this. After my daughter was gone for 4 days, she returned back to her place and spent over $70.00 washing all the bagged clothing. Now, 2 days after spending all that money and time washing and putting clothes away, she has seen 2 more bed bugs tonight. What is she to do? What are her rights? Does she have the right to get reimbursed monies for the time and costs for this nuissance? She no longer wants to stay at this apt and now she isn’t sure if she might transport these bed bugs to her next place. She has never had this problem at any other place that she has rented. She was informed that the tenant prior to her had died in the unit. That didn’t seem to bother her so much though.

Please HELP!!!!


June 22nd, 2009 4:22 pm

I am dealing with the same issues in my apartment complex. A terminex man came out and confirmed the problem and the manager and the owner had no problem paying for this issue to get taken care of, my problem is that between the laundry and being displaced from my apartment, myself and my roommate have spent a lot of outside expenses. We have addressed our concerns and even mailed a written letter with receipts attached for outside expenses, and the manager came out and said that we as renters had only 2 options, the first being live in the apartment after everything is said and done, or turn in you 30 day notice. He hasn’t agreed to any reimbursement or help along the way. And the only reason why I ask is because my roommate and myself only “lived” in this apartment for 9 days before we noticed bites all over our bodies. Therefore we moved out and are now staying elsewhere while the problem is fixed. Terminex said the problem was pre-existing, and the both of us didn’t even have a chance to move in furniture, so we know we didn’t bring this with us!

Please help!


October 19th, 2009 1:08 pm

I live in a senior building. Some to the tenants are disable. Some of my neighbors had a bed bug infestation and one of the couple was disabled. In the mean time the management informed the that they had to throw the furniture away which they did.

The couple threw away everything. The other neighbor threw her furniture away and replaced some of it. The landloard told her she had to throw her furniture again after they had treated it.

Now both of the neighbors were evicted.

Do they have any recourse, to get there furniture replace etc?

Thank you,


January 20th, 2010 5:43 pm

My Mother is having the very same situation, as we speak!! She is so upset & stressed that she cries all the time. She is packing up her belongings to find housing elsewhere, but at the moment, there is none to be found. She says maybe she can store her thing somewhere. She was also told to “have someone haul off her couch & chair”. She is 87yrs. old!! She can’t start all over again. I’ve been searching the internet to see if she has any rights.

Elderly Lady

January 20th, 2010 5:36 pm

I moved to an apartment building for elderly folks. Some of the tennants recently found bed bugs. I reported having them & now I am being charged to have them exterminated & have to throw away my couch & chair. Others in the building also have them, so why are they only charging me?


June 9th, 2010 7:14 am

My husband and i have the same problem with our apartment. We moved in on January and realized we were bitten but we figured they were spiders or mosquitos especially since when we were showed the apartment we realized that it hadn’t been cleaned which it was reported. The bites started to get really bad so we reported it and had someone from the pest control come and check it out. They determined we had bed bugs so the apartment was treated. i had to pack everything in my apartment, spent over a $100 on a matress cover, spent a lot on washing all of our clothing and belongings, and i even had to throw away clothing. A week after treatment we realized we were still getting bit. The next week the pest control was suppoed to come for the first inspection so i reported that we were still getting bit. The manager said she would mention it to them. When i asked her what he had said she said that he said it was probably an allergic reaction and said we had no more. The bites kept happening. It got really bad again so last week they came to check again and we do have them again. We threw away our matress and all our blankets just to be sure it really wasn’t because of us. Yesterday and today i found more bed bugs and caught them in little bags. I am convinced it is because of our apartment because we have no bed. We are sleeping on an uncomfortable matress and really just want to leave. We understand that we cant move until the bugs are gone but the problem is our lease isn’t up until February. They told us we had t pay $2500 or the reaminder of the months rent in order to break the lease. We dont think its fair that we ahve to pay to move out of a plce when it wasnt our fault. We asked if we could tranfer to another apartment on the property and they said they don’t do that so now were stuck on what to do . 


August 21st, 2010 10:12 am

I rent a house from florida last month.There is a bad bags in the bedroom ı cannot sleep well..I m itching all the time..I have 1 year contract how can I broke it?please helppp


August 22nd, 2010 9:19 am



September 1st, 2010 9:43 pm


Bed bugs are not much fun!! However, it is usually the responsibility of the landlord to treat for bed bugs. The RPA can help you make those arrangements with your landlord. You will need to file a complaint here:

Don’t worry, help is on the way!

P.S. To file a complaint, you will need to pay a one-time filing fee of $35. (That is pretty good for legal help)


September 19th, 2010 4:13 am


Almost a year later, I just now read about the infestation problems some people are having. Hear’s a quick sure to please in the end solution, which I have successfully done.

1. Write (don’ call, or speak verbally) to the landlord about the problem requesting them to fix the problem and date the note and keep a copy.

2. Allow at least 2 weeks for them to repair the problem.

3. If they fail to repair the problem in the time allowed, give your notice to VACATE THE TENANCY due to CONSTRUCTIVE EVICTION due to failure to fix the problems.

4. MOVE OUT… AND BE SURE TO LEAVE A FORWARDING ADDRESS to receive your deposit or put a forwarding address in at the post office.

5. Be prepared to go to court to prove your case.

6. Keep all written request for repairs.

7. Try to always have a witness with you when you inspect the repair after they say they have repaired it; just in case it isn’t properly repaired.

8. Take pictures before and after the repair.

9. If they say they have repaired it and haven’t; MAKE YOUR OWN CALL TO A PROFESSIONAL to check to see if the repair was made properly. This shouldn’s cost much because all you want to get is an inspection and a WRITTEN statement from the professional; you don’t want them to fix it. (For instance like the Loni with the bed bugs; she should have called a professional exterminator herself to check to see if the bedbugs were gone; after the Terminex man said they were gone and they were not.)

10. Keep the inspection statement for court, in case you go.

11. In court, tell the judge you were constructively evicted, so you had a right to give notice and move. Then show him your request for repairs; your pictures, and your inspection report from a professional.


*If you live in an apartment where you don’t want to move out, still follow these steps by reporting the problem in writing and waiting 15 days, then go to SMALL CLAIMS COURT with ALL your proof, and get a COURT INJUNCTION which is an order from the court which will ORDER the apartment manager to fix the problem or be held in contempt and fined or even jailed.

MOST IMPORTANT…. dont be afraid and let them push you around and intimidate you… YOU HAVE RIGHTS, TOO.

P.S. Bedbugs ARE legally an inhabitable infestation!!!! This can be considered constructive eviction if it is not corrected.



September 22nd, 2010 1:24 pm

I live in a 6 unit townhome building in Iowa my rent is income based or HUD long 3yr story made short1st end apt had the issue they were then evicted and the apartment sat empty for almost 9 mos. befoe the next residents moved in. After notifiying the office they agreed to have the bug gye take care of it and had her do the bedbug drill bag flip open you get the jist of it. They told her it would take a few treatments over a few weeks time. Keep in mind that she was a singel mom with 3 kids and worked a full time job. In the middle of all this the mangement was doing there anual hosekeeping inspection and it hapend to be the same time as her bug treatment when they seen her apartment (she was at work) they seen it in shambels of course. They called CPS almost looseing her kids she did loose her apartment and all her furniture wich was less then 6mos old.Im not even shure the carpet was dry befoe the next tenent moved in. This is when my daughter started geting bit. We live in the second apartment next to the one I just told you about. Her bedroom is on the wall that is shared with them. She got eaten bad even her face 20 mabey 30 bits on her neck and face. I didnt get bit as bad as her but i definetly got bit. However my son 2yrs (at that time) didnt seem to get bit and neither did my boyfriend when he would stay the night. I did my research gatherd up all the facts and then Told our landlord of my concerns. She straight said bring me one. That was easyer said than done. I even had our family doc. look her over ahd she agreed looked like bedbug bits. So still I hadent found any real evedence and decided to do what i could myself and bought a steam cleaner and some $25 bedbug spray.The problem seemed to go away.Utill a friendly conversation one day with the lady at the opisit end of my building had mentioned of her recent bedbug issue

Could it be I couldnt find any evidence of the be because they can travel upto 100 feet to feed?
Did my boy only apear to not get bit because he didnt have the same alergic reaction to the bits as me and my daughter did?
so not should I be worried they are on the way back down to my end of the building because the resident in #4 just told me she was getting bit by something and they really iched.

Why whem they were informed of this issue did they not treat the hole building? Because they do when it comes to roaches


October 22nd, 2010 11:21 am

As a landlord I understand way anyone would be upset. We have had 2 people in our building in the past 17 years that have reported bedbugs. As the landlord I called terminex as while the resident was standing there. We paid for both treatments. One apartment we could not understand how they got in as we have NEVER had a problem with them. The other unit was bringing in furniture from a dumpster that had the bed bugs on it. We still paid for the treatment. The tenant even held us up 3 weeks before prepping her unit. So not all landlords are bad. It is a wide spread problem in colorado. They can come in from you or your kids visiting someone that has them. We have had other units inspected and no sign of them. I think both parties need to work together but i feel the management should pay for the treatment.


January 25th, 2011 11:52 pm

Your mother will want to take precautions to prevent relocating the bugs with her. She has a number of options, but they may not be cheap. The first is to enlist a PCO with a bed bug dog… The dog should be able to isolate belongings likely to be infested. Another good option is heat treatment combined with Diatomaceous Earth. If sh decides to store her belongings, advise her to store them for a minimum of 18 months, to keep belongings at least a foot from walls and to surround her belongings with Diatomaceous Earth. This will outlast the bugs ability to hibernate while protecting the belongings of other storage renters and prevent other bedbugs from entering her belongings. Additionally, if she goes the storage route, look for a storage rental with high summer temps (year round warm climates help here).

Her specific rights depend where she lives.


January 26th, 2011 12:02 am

Contact a renters attorney for advice specific to your state. Some states specifically address bed bugs and land lord responsibility, but it is likely to be a habitability issue. Who brought the bed bugs is often he said/she said unless you can prove they had foreknowledge of an infestation. In addition to treatments by your pest control, apply Diatomaceous Earth generously around your sleeping areas; they will still come to eat and you will continue to have bites, fewer and fewer for up to a month… Do not move before getting this issue under control; you’ll take them along. Continue treating with D. Earth following any move.


January 26th, 2011 12:09 am

Don’t bring belongings back and forth between the infested location and your safe haven. If CPS does get involved, they may be able to steer you toward someone who can help you with your landlord woes, possibly a rental attorney. Sometimes children get removed for habitability issues, however it is not likely considering the severity of the outbreak… In some parts of the country, your odds of having bedbugs are 1 in 4… That’s a lot of foster homes.

Windows Backgammon

February 9th, 2011 2:08 pm

Very helpful information. Do not stop and read this site.


August 4th, 2011 5:01 pm

My roommate and I experienced bed bugs along with 4 other apartments in the complex. We were asked to take all of our things out of the the place while 2 treatments would be performed over 2 wks. That we did along with all the washing and drying at a laundry mat at an absorbent amount. We only had 2 months left on our lease and decided we’d pay the next month’s rent and they’d let us out of the lease. we haven’t been back until today just to gather some final things like bed frames etc. We were able to photograph live bed bugs. What are our rights? Do we have to pay the last month’s rent, especially since they refused to adjust our rent for the 2 wks we weren’t able to be there?


March 31st, 2012 9:20 am

As a landlord, I have been in the same situation with other landlords. I have wittnessed tenants getting old furniture out of dumpsters because they could not afford any…I have seen boyfriends bring old dirty matteress to their girlfriends and within a few days they are being eaten up with bedbugs, I have witness tenants going to another tenants apartment, stated their friends have bed bugs, but insist on going back to those same friends place. We have treated for the problem, but most of the tenants do not or will not help fix the problem when I give them instructions on how to do their laundry, wrap their matteress, vacum, get all clothing out of closets, shoes, boxes…but still they do not comply…so how do you get rid of a problem if they are not willing to do their part…it’s an on going battle for landlords also if tenants do not want to do their part in getting rid of this problem


June 14th, 2013 10:13 pm

Are landlords required to disclose info?
When I first moved to Denver the lady told us thy there was bed bug problem as we were signing our lease. She never said the people before us had them. 3 days later we have a notice that an exterminator is coming to treat for bed bugs.
I though we didn’t have any! Nobody told us anything!
Is this illegal??

How Much Does A Bed Bug Exterminator Cost Fort Deposit | bedbugexterminator24

January 25th, 2015 7:04 am

[…] Rental Protection Agency: Bed Bugs, Illegal Lease Clause – Are bed bugs cause for breach of implied warranty of habitability? Yes. Bed bug infestations are most definitely considered a habitability issue…. […]


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