Renters listen up here!
One would think you would rather “evict the bed bug” instead of a paying tenant, but that is not what is happening out in the real world. The “fear” of bed bug eviction plagues people and is causing an expansion of many other problems.
I am always getting calls from people asking if they are facing eviction because they have bed bugs. They normally call me before they mention anything to their property manager. The first thing out of their mouths is “I’m a very clean person, I don’t understand it”. It breaks my heart that these bugs have caused such fear and shame in people.
Just because you happened to pick up a bed bug or bed bugs moved possibly through the walls from an adjoining unit, it does not mean you are automatically evicted. It does not have anything to do with what you “may think”.
Now, can people acquire an eviction because of bed bugs? Yes, but only under certain circumstances, which we will talk about later.
Bed bugs are parasites that are deliberate hitchhikers and can attach themselves to personal belongings as you come and go in life. The sad part is that most of the time, people have no clue where they got them. You can pick them up at work, school, an evening out with the family, at the theater, a friend or relatives house, on an airplane and even at your apartment complexes main office.
They are no more difficult than picking up a flea as you walk across a lawn, purchasing a package from the grocery store than have worms or moths or your child picking up head lice from school.
Insects are a part of life, which many are seasonal. That is why most professional properties from restaurants to apartments and businesses have regular pest control visits, to keep up with potential pest problems.
Because of the nature of bed bugs and the huge invasion nowadays, more and more property owners are starting to address them as part of their regular services.
If you are concerned in whether eviction is a possibility because of bed bugs, you might want to search for and discuss the probabilities and possibilities of bed bugs with your leasing agent BEFORE you choose a place to live. You will certainly find out quickly who knows what and if you want to live in that particular environment.
Educated property owners that have built solid relationships with their professional bed bug experts, will have their full staff (including maintenance), trained for bed bug probabilities. They will have their leasing agents address their policies and procedures with their tenants. They will have an addendum that is fair to both the renter and the owner. In addition, will have their units frequently inspected throughout the year and especially before move in day.
They will discuss any previous infestations you may have had and disclose any they had. They do not hide from it and it is not Ebola. These are property owners who understand that bed bug are becoming a way of life, can affect anyone, and are included on the list of pests they already have to deal with.
With yours and their community interest in mind, they will hand you a Think like a Bed Bug book to assist you with your learning curve. The book covers the most crucial things you need to know about bed bugs. There are pictures on what they look like in all stages of development, how they reproduce, where they hide, and risk factors for picking them up. Most importantly, it coaches you in prevention and facilitates your understanding of what NOT TO DO if you think you have them.
Well-informed property owners already have these processes in place. They work hard to create ongoing community awareness in order to keep their property and tenants safe from infestations.
As time marches on, with anticipation more property owners will become proactive by providing regular inspections of their units. This way they can stay on top of any bed bugs that should make their way into their properties before they get a chance to establish and infest other units.
I hope that your property owner does not treat you as just a meal ticket and have your health and welfare at interest.
This all sounds great in principle but regrettably, the masses of multi-unit property owners still have not caught on when it comes to bed bugs.
What constitutes an eviction for bed bugs?
You are a repeat offender costing the owner over and over again, the owner has the right to allow tenancy to whom they wish and have policies, procedures and rules for creating a safe pest free environment.
As I mentioned in my last blog, rules are developed and followed in all venues and occupations. If we had not rules and direction, well, just imagine what this world would be like.
If you are a renter, I want you to think about this:
One of the first things that renters execute is running to the store at the first indication of bed bugs to purchase anything that says bed bugs on it. They take it home, spray or dust the living hell out of everything then after complete utter failure, (and this may take months), they call management. This is a BIG BOZO NO NO!
Now, what you did was this. You most likely spread the bed bugs (to the whole apartment and possibly surrounding units), saturated the walls, floors with poisons and still have a problem. All because “you were afraid” that you were going to be held accountable. Nice try.
If your property management took the time (up front) and made you fully aware of bed bugs (up front), and explained the rules surrounding them (up front). Then, because of your lack of respect for the rules or sheer laziness, they now have to schedule and deal with a much more of a problem because you cannot get your act together. Seriously, what’s up with that?
Now if you still refuse to do what is needed and the pest control company has to come back time and time again to treat your apartment, it will be obvious that YOU cause a financial and emotional hardship for the owners. I have to be honest with you and tell you that I would want you gone as well.
At this time, they can, and will, start to hold you financially responsible for the consecutive treatments. If in the event you rebuttal against them, do not do as asked or do not work with the management they have every right to evict you. Again, “if” they gave you the rules up front.
Remember, YOU now become the problem. Furthermore, by not paying attention and re-introducing the bed bugs, you may cause the owner to have to treat not only your unit but also those surrounding you.
Property owners have the right to protect their investment. When you do not bring bed bugs to the attention of management in early stages and allow them to reproduce for many months, they now spread into the structures of the building. Nice job!
Think how unfair it is for the owner to have to clean up after you repeatedly, just imagine if you were in their shoes. If this is happening, and you pay little to no attention to the “rules” (like cleaning up clutter, changing sheets often, always be looking for signs of them), then expect the owner to hand you an eviction notice.
I have to say that I would not blame them because I have owned property and have been a landlord myself. I thank God in today’s world that I am no longer. If I had taken the time to address the issue of bed bugs, gave you all that you needed to be aware and you constantly ignored it, I would evict you also.
Step up to the plate people and take responsibility where needed. If everyone would work together instead of against each other and stop pointing fingers, all this would be as simple as a flea or a fly to eliminate.
Call us to help set up programs that will make a difference. We have members all over the US that can come in, do trainings, and get you and your tenants heading in the right direction!