bed bugs/lease

By Erica

M fiance and I have 2 boys (5+1). We were looking to move into a new apartment. We found an apartment that we were interested in. The lady told us she would hold it for us if we gave a deposit. We have her $800.00. When we went back to look at the apt again we found bug traps, plaster falling off the walls, holes in ceilings, crack in the walls, holes in the walls and we also found out it used to be a mortuary. We told the landlord we do not want to rent and and would like our deposit back…she said no she is keeping it. CAN SHE? We never signed a lease

A week later we find a new apartment we REALLY like. We finish moving in on Sunday at 7pm. Monday morning the neighbors tell me that the lady who lived here before us had bed bugs. I called the landlord and he said yes, but he bombed the apartment. Tuesday morning (not even 36 hours after moving in) I wake to find bugs on my bed! I left and called the landlord. He showed up with an exterminator. In fact the whole apartment was infested, including the nextdoor neighbors. He iexterminated the place friday afternoon but because we have small children we cant go back untill wends. We are staying in a hotel ($600!), 300 to wash my clothes at the laundry mat, a day of missed work, bins to put our stuff in (50), new pillows ($20) food on the go bc we dont have a kitchen in the hotel ($100), another month of storage bc we hadent moved all of our stuff out of storage (120), and matress covers ($75). We have spent so much money this month trying to live. We asked thge landlord to take off $150 of our rent to help us out and he said no. We were not even there 2 days! we can not move now bc all of our stuff is contaminated. We are not going back either. The exterminator said theres a 50/50 chance they will be back. I can not live there with my small children and that chance. What are my options legally with both landlords?

Edited on: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 3:54 am

4 Responses to “bed bugs/lease”

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

Bedbug Expert

April 28th, 2010 2:56 am

I see this all the time, Landlord’s attempt to treat bedbugs themselves by using a “bug bomb” or other over the counter sprays.  This act as NO effect on bed bugs and will only spread them through-out the unit.  Most of the sprays are an annoyance to bed bugs so when used they spread.  Many times they spread to other units or deeper into walls and hiding spots.


Professional chemical treatments are effective at killing adult bugs and possibly bed bug eggs when sprayed directly on them.  But it will not harm the thousands of other eggs hidden deep within walls.  You will notice a drop in bites immediately following the chemical treatment, but you will still notice a few bites from the adults that were not killed.  They will continue to breed, and other eggs will hatch and before you know it the bedbug infestation is back.

In my opinion companies using sprays are somewhat unethical.  Not only is the process extremely toxic, it also is not effective to wiping out bedbugs.  They will even tell you that it will take several treatments.  Think about it… if you were an exterminator and charge $150 to $250 each time you sprayed; would you come back 2 times or 10 times?  Its a math question.  Chemical exterminators will make more money the longer it takes them to exterminate.  (meanwhile, your family is repeatedly exposed to harsh chemicals)

The cheaper chemical option will cost much more in the long run.

Your landlord is clearly responsible for the entire removal.  And, if he failed to disclose the bed bug infestation prior to you moving in, then, he should also be responsible for any cost; including the items you listed above.


If I were you I would immediately file a bedbug complaint.   I read on this blog once, that the RPA has a special division dedicated to bedbug complaints.  If anyone can help you, it would be the RPA Bedbug Special Division.  All you need to do is file a complaint, they will then open a case and assign an RPA Agent to help you get a fair resolution.   In this case, don’t let your landlord walk all over you– he is responsible for completely exterminating your bed bug infestation!


April 28th, 2010 8:50 am

SO, do we not go back?  We are meeting with the landlord today to discuss what our options are. We asked to take 150 off of the next months rent for some of the expenses we have and they said no. The inspector is going back in three weeks but this is not a chance I am willing to take. ALSO, do you know if we can get our money back from the first landlord I mentioned?

Bedbug Expert

April 29th, 2010 3:48 pm

Hi Erica:
The problem with not going back is that you could be legally liable for the lease term.  So if you have a long time left on your lease it could cost you a lot of money, even though you have bed bugs.

Another concern with moving is the fact that your belongings would most likely have some infestation which would just spread them to your new place.  Bedbugs can follow you. 

I would suggest getting legal assistance.  Like I mentioned to you earlier, the RPA has a complaint program that could negotiate for you.   I was told that the program has been very successful with landlord bedbug disputes.  I know if I had a bed bug complaint I would do everything in my power to see that it doesn’t go on my public record. 

Its frustrating, I get that; but you’ve got to protect yourself.  Your landlord has proven to you that he’s not going to be fair. 


May 2nd, 2010 7:26 am

We have a tenant at will lease.  So we wish we can vacate now we can. We plan on leaving all of our belongins behind and sueing for the costs of our belongings. Does this seem unreasonable to you?


Yes, the RPA® Can Help You!

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

Not Ready? Learn more...

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.