Tenant or Landlord responsible for bed bugs?


I am a renter in this apartment community since one year. recently i found that something was biting me. They called up the pest control and placed monitors. couldnt find anything. later they sent sniffer dog and the dog says i have bed bugs but i dont see any. now the apartment management is asking me to pay for the pest control treatment which would cost 1000$ aprox.(for each treatment it costs 250$, and it may take 3 -4 vistis) whos responsibility is this. they are sayin that since its in your apartment you have to pay for it. apartment mgr is working with exterminator to set appointment, but wants me to pay for it. Please advice & thanks in advance.

Edited on: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 3:54 am

12 Responses to “Tenant or Landlord responsible for bed bugs?”

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


January 23rd, 2010 11:39 am

As a landlord I can tell you that tenants should be responsible for extermination in most scenarios. But with bed bugs, I would have to disagree. I did a quick search for you (on this site) and found all sorts of info on bed bug responsibility in apartments. Someone mentioned that because bed bugs are “parasites” (news to me) it can be considered an unsafe living environment AND if its unsafe then the landlord should be responsible to bring the apartment back to rentable and live-able condition, meaning that they should be required to help with extermination costs.


January 25th, 2010 9:23 am

DON’T USE SPRAYS!!! I had bed bugs in my California Apartment and payed for 6 treatments. (spray kind) It did help, but they kept coming back. The exterminator said that they were probably making their way back to my unit from one of my neighbors. I bought into that, until I did some research. I found out that bed bugs cannot be completely killed with sprays. The sprays will kill the adult bed bugs, but has no effect on the thousands of eggs laid in walls, mattresses, behind picture frames, etc.

So if you want to get rid of bed bugs in your apartment you need to kill both the adults and the eggs. You will waist money by paying for chemical sprays. The only way to really kill bed bugs is to use a Heat or Freeze treatment. Not only do they kill the adults and eggs, its actually completely safe! I will warn you though, its going to cost you around $800 to $1500 to do a bed bug freeze or heat treatment.


August 31st, 2010 10:28 am

Be careful if you use a heat treatment because it can damage property in your apt if not done correctly! My daughter just had their apartment heat treated and the company let the heat get to 180 degrees instead of 150 degrees and now they have a melted TV, vacuum cleaner all the blinds melted and the ceiling started coming apart and the walls all bubbled from the heat. The landlord is saying it is their own fault since they are the ones with the bedbug problem and they signed some form from the exterminators stated they wont hold them responsible for damage never thinking that their apt would MELT! So please read everything before you sign it, keep copies and be careful! My daughter is 81/2 months pregnant and the landlord says its their own fault and wont help with replacing items or fixing apt. Now they are really stuck unless someone has any suggestions how to approach the owners about the dangers in their apt they now have.


September 5th, 2010 9:39 am

who is responsible for pest control, tenants or landlords?


September 9th, 2010 11:34 pm

As a landlord I have asked this exact question. Should the landlord really be responsible for pest removal? Maybe.

I should mention, that rentals are regulated by contract law. So, it is possible to create a lease clause that holds the tenant responsible for pest removal. (as long as it doesn’t violate statute or cause a inhabitable type of situation)

Since this post is talking about bed bugs; I will answer the question specifically dealing with bed bugs. Landlords are normally on the hook for bed bug removal. Let me explain… Bed bugs are parasites thus cause for “breach of implied warranty of habitability” (a mouthful that means: You are no longer providing a safe / habitable rental which is clearly required by statute for anyone that rents out a property)

So, if you have a tenant that has bed bugs, try to work out something. The worse thing to do is nothing. Every day the infestation grows bigger. The sooner you resolve the bed bug problem, the better. Also, avoid chemical treatments.


October 9th, 2011 4:12 pm

Here’s the problem. Making this entirely the landlords responsibility is not only unfair but will mean higher rents (it’s an expense) and renters don’t take responsibility for doing stupid things like bringing home discarded furniture or other items. I saw one of my tenants in the process of collecting a desk and some other items from a nearby apartment building. I explain to him that many people throw out items when they are infested with bed bugs. It seems like he listened an left the items. I later found out that I was correct. The items were removed from a bed bug infested apartment. They are supposed to be labeled but no one does this. Why should I be responsible for cleaning up an infestation because a tenant is stupid?


December 7th, 2011 8:50 am

Tenants can create mold. In VA as long as there is no mold visible at the time of the move in, we’re not responsibole for what the tenant does. I think a similar approach with bed bugs is to have the tenant sign a form prior to moving in stating that he or she has had an opportunity to evaluate the dwelling for bed bugs and other pests, that he warrants his personal property is free of infestation as well, and that should a subsequent infestation ocur that the tenant shall be responsible for professional remidiation.

Michael Kohlmann

January 26th, 2012 2:05 pm

BED BUGS are on the rise in California! Bed Bugs have become a true national pest. Joining the ranks of rodents, roaches, and ants, bed bugs are quickly becoming a household pest. Their 1/4 inch sized bodies, along with an insects natural thigmatropic biology, make them an extremely elusive pest. They are rarely seen during the day and will scurry for cover if you turn on the lights at night. They hide in the folds of your mattresses, your headboards, lamps, night stands, bed frames, electrical outlets, appliances, carpeting, blinds, drapes, chairs, sofas and baseboards. Bed bugs are resilient parasites that hide anywhere they can fit and they will emerge from hiding when they detect a host.

Mack Family from Mpls.Mn

July 1st, 2012 3:38 am

I have been fighting bedbugs every since the down stairs tenant move in spent over $400.00 and the problem is still there the landlord has been no help and now I feel that I must go to the city to try and get some help. I have lived here over 18 yrs. and never had any kind of bug problem other than those that fly, now we cant get a good night sleep.Stuck in a rut cant just up and move would only take the bugs to a new home . Landlord keeps acting like it nothing Its about to run my family crazy.


July 17th, 2012 3:56 pm

My former landlord blew me off the day that i found bed bugs in my apartment. i lived in a 13 unit building and the exterminator informed me that he had been in my building “numerous times”. Apparently, the unit below mine was treated for bugs a month before i moved in. The bugs relocated to my apartment and I was being seen by my dr within 4 days for what I thought was an allergic reaction. After months of being bitten (my boyfriend showed no symptoms), i finally found on in the middle of the night. These bugs only come out at night and are attracted to CO2, so ts very rare to see one in the daytime.
My landlord refused to pay for the extermination. On top of that, I had to ditch a boxspring, spend over $100 at the laundromat using high heat to clean EVERYTHING in my house, and pay incredible medical bills trying to find the root of my “allergic reaction”.
I believe, in this case, that the landlord is fully responsible considering the timeline of events and that the apartment below mine was infested only a month before.
Needless to say, I had to move out to rectify the situation. If that whole building isnt treated, those bugs will move from one apartment to the next. All is takes in ONE bug to stay alive. These insects reproduce individually; no need for a mate.
Legal action is pending.
I hope you have more luck than I did!!!!!


August 15th, 2012 3:24 pm

Can I withhold my rent if the landlord doesn’t exterminate the bedbugs in a timely manor. It’s been 4 weeks now.


December 14th, 2012 2:31 pm

My famliy are living in this apartment now for two months and we have been getting bitten by bed bugs what should we do?


Yes, the RPA® Can Help You!

Filing an official complaint is the nation's fastest way to solve tenant problems.

Not Ready? Learn more...

Virginia Complaint Filling Deadline  Tips/Suggestion

Need Help Filing Your Complaint?

Agents Available Mon- Fri 10am to 10pm

Recently Resolved Complaints:

See how the Nation's Rental Authority has helped thousands of tenants already!

Ask Question:

Post a new question to the RPA Tenants rights forum.

You Have Tenant Rights.
Recently Posted Questions:

Over 4,000 questions have been asked by tenants including these new posts:

Tenant Rights Categories

Popular categories about renters rights.