Shameful landlord AIMCO: biggest landlord in USA refuses to deal with bed bugs

by nobugsonme on February 13, 2007 · 29 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, denver, pennsylvania, usa

This from the Philadelphia Daily News: Rental Giant Finally Goes After the Bugs.


Denver-based Apartment Investment and Management Co., or AIMCO, is the largest landlord in the US, with 1,370 rental properties. Attorney Jeffrey Rudnick is representing six separate clients who were or are tenants of the building, and say they were blamed (individually) for bringing in bed bugs. The landlord refused to pay for treatment. One tenant, Jessica Viccari, a nurse, complained to management.

The local manager sent up an exterminator who reported finding no evidence of bedbugs.

Unimpressed, Viccari called in her own exterminator who found plenty of bedbugs.

This is where Viccari and Park Towne Place part ways.

She complains that the company refused to pay for the exterminator who found the problem to then get rid of the bedbugs. Frustrated, she moved out. Now AIMCO wants to charge her $2,400 for breaking her lease.

AIMCO wants to charge tenants because the landlord blames them for the infestation. As lawyer Rudnick says,

After Viccari and her family called to tell me her story, I used my investigative skills to size up the situation.

By that, I mean I typed “Park Towne Place” and “bedbugs” into Google.

Up popped information about attorney Jeffrey Rudnick, who represents five other tenants in the West building who also say they suffered through bedbug infestations. They say management blamed them for the bugs. Viccari is now Rudnick’s sixth client from the West building.

“They’ve all gotten the same litany, which is you must have brought them with you,” said Rudnick, who is preparing to file a legal brief to take the tenants’ complaints into arbitration.

Viccari brought furniture from her parent’s home when she moved in. Her mother, Linda McLean, objects to AIMCO’s claim that the bedbugs came in with the tenants. “That bed and that couch were in my home,” McLean said. “There are no bedbugs in my house.”

However, AIMCO regional VP Lynn Bora

. . . said Viccari complained late in the game, just before she moved out. She also said Viccari didn’t give AIMCO a copy of the report from the exterminator who found the bedbugs.

That last bit is curious, considering that Viccari and her mother returned to her apartment last Wednesday to pick up the rest of her stuff and found that someone had been there, overturning the bed and pulling the cushions off the couch.

Viccari found a note from the building manager, saying AIMCO had indeed found bedbugs in the apartment.

The note said Viccari will be charged an extra $350 to pay for a bedbug exterminator.

So let me get this straight: the landlord claims they did not treat because there were no bed bugs. They fine the tenant $2400 for moving out of a $1200 unit because she claims its infested with a bug five other tenants are also suffering from. They refuse to believe she found bedbugs. And as she is moving out, they ransack her apartment, find bed bugs and fine her $350 for the treatment?

Talk about adding insult to injury.

1 deblynn February 13, 2007 at 11:06 am

If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Cliche yes, but to make my point. The buck stops with the name on the deed. It’s the landlords property, which means its their responsibility to keep it bed bug free, otherwise they are going to have to advertise the property as “bed bug friendly”. Who in their right mind would rent a knowingly infested apt.? It is almost impossible to trace the initial bed bug infestation in a multiple family dwelling. I pray the judge does not make this woman pay. I hope the landlord realizes that they are going to have to exterminate the entire bldg. . This is just the beginning. Landlords better start to demand a pesticide that works more effectively than the ones we have now.

2 parakeets February 13, 2007 at 3:09 pm

I rent. I know that a landlord/tenant relationship is not equal. My landlord doesn’t even tell tenants that our building has bedbugs. How can there be an effective building-wide treatment? Landlords can squawk all they want, but they will just raise the rents to cover the cost of repeated exterminations, so tenants will eventually pay for bedbug exterminations anyway, as a hidden cost in the rent. Unless we get our city and local officials to stand up about this, there will be no help for tenants. Many tenants will have to fight, individually, at great cost, to get even a modicum of care. There are disenfranchised tenants–elderly, sick, illegal aliens, people in rent controlled units–who will not be able to effectively speak up, no matter what the landlord does, unless there are stronger bedbug rules.

3 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 2:49 am

What people will have to realize is that if they allow poor people to languish with bed bugs, then the middle and upper classes will be infested thoroughly too–because the monsters spread so easily.
As much as landlords are legally liable in most places, I realize the potential burden on them. AIMCO should absolutely be treating those units, don’t get me wrong. But there are smaller landlords who may have one small building, for example, and they may not be making a lot of money and may have to treat repeatedly. So I do have sympathy for _that_ kind of landlord, but they need to step up and fight for better treatment options (and, if this gets worse, government assistance with treatment costs).
Because if we don’t have better treatments available, costs to landlords and homeowners are going to mean a lot of them can’t afford to treat the problem.

4 wantmyskinback February 14, 2007 at 10:50 am

Because this is a new problem, there isn’t the same protocol as there is for “mice” or “roaches” which has always been a landlord’s responsibility. I agree that the costs associated with extermination can ruin a small landlord, but it can also ruin his building if he doesn’t exterminate for bed bugs. It’s a catch 22. I think the proper approach is for the landlord of any size to empathise with his tenant, and treat his property—with the tenants cooperation of course. It’s a tax write off ( I think ) besides. Yes, the landlord SHOULD fight to have better pesticides and legislation and government assistance (which might be available in NYC to some extent through NYCHA).

5 Bugalina February 14, 2007 at 11:16 am

The problem is, If the landlord relies on the tenant to pay for extermination then in many cases it just won’t happen. In most cases, they , the tenant-just cannot afford it. It is the landlord who has the vested interest in the property, or so we hope ( not those with a “milk the property mentality ) So ultimately the landlord is going to be left footing the bill if they want their property to be “uninfested”…This is a burden on the landlord, but there are risks involved in any investment. Bed bugs have reared their ugly suckers, and have surfaced as an unpredicted “cost of doing business”….There are already court cases pending tenant/versus landlord..and landlord/versus tenant….It is unfortunate for both, but its the most unfortunate for the tenants who cannot afford the high price of extermination, thus living in infested bldgs; at the mercy of apathtic landlords who will not provide proper extermination….Without proper extermination bed bugs will continue to spread, to everyone…including not only multi family dwellings, but single family homes, schools, businesses, hotels..dorms,and the list goes on…In order to beat this ruinous pest, there has to be an organized well thought out group effort. ..on the part of both private sectors , business, and government..This is what I think…Deb

6 Bugalina February 14, 2007 at 11:30 am

For the record: I heard from a very reliable source that some NYC shelters had such bad bed bug infestations the the “walls appeared to be moving”…( so many bed bugs!) . We NY’ers should all be very upset with the administrations slow response to this fast moving bug epidemic. Allowing City owned shelters to become so horribly infested was grossly irresponsible..and of course by doing so the City of New York…”fed the spread”…..Deb

7 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 2:09 pm

I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that tenants should foot the cost of bed bug extermination!

Wantmyskin–as far as I know NYCHA only deals with bed bugs in city public housing in NYC. A lot of the buildings are said to have bed bug problems, which is not a surprise since they are HUGE buildings. I hope they’re getting their act together.

8 parakeets February 14, 2007 at 3:40 pm

There are reputable landlords and horrendous landlords. This was particularly heinous since it was such a large management company and they did it to so many tenants. It obviously shows a “pattern.” Landlords want to pay as little as possible and get away with as much as they can. The posters here are right–you can’t expect that tenants will pay, and making them pay isn’t even legal (though many tenants are paying for their own treatment in NYC). My landlord made our bedbug problem worse by ineffective bedbug extermination (trying to self-treat with bug bombs, etc). Then–this is scary–they tried to sell our building. A good building in a good location, but with bedbugs it couldn’t be sold. No one wanted to buy a bedbug infested apartment building. So we’re stuck. For some landlords, bedbugs can be the tipping point for their profit return, and they could become slum lords, not taking care of the building. I don’t trust landlords. We have to have laws on the books specifically about bedbug treatments.

9 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Parakeets, you are right on the money.

I wonder how the prospective buyers found out about the bed bugs? Perhaps they got to the stage of inspecting.

10 parakeets February 14, 2007 at 4:47 pm

It was the real estate agents who passed the word that our building has bedbugs, as far as I know. We’re a fairly small town. Everybody knows everybody. There were tenants who were placed in our building by real estate agents and those tenants then turned around and moved right out because of bedbugs (no comission, Mr. Real Estate Agent!) So real estate agents somehow refuse to rent apartments in our building (I wonder why?) The management has started renting the building solely through Craigslist. But I can only guess that the bedbug info was spread some way like that. I would never buy a multi-unit building without checking for bedbugs nowadays. Bedbug dogs?

11 Bugalina February 14, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Before anyone can get financing on a real estate investment, single family or multiple family, there has to be a termite inspection, which certifies that the structure is free and clear of any active termites…I hope that Financial Institutions are aware of bed bugs…and that a “free and clear” of bed bugs certificate will be required before financing is granted…One can say that bed bugs do not do structural damage, but any bed bug victim can attest to the emotional and financial damage that occurs when an infestation rears its ugly head. As per the post above, they definitely have a negative affect on the market value of a property. As parakeets hints, Bed Bug dogs may become a fixed part of any real estate transaction.

12 wantmyskinback February 14, 2007 at 9:04 pm

I agree with all of your comments, but at least there is a NYCHA. It’s a start. It helps those who cannot afford, and who live in public housing. OK, but it’s there. It’s better than nothing.

13 nobugsonme February 15, 2007 at 2:08 am

Hi wantmyskin,

The NYCHA has to exterminate pests in city buildings. But it’s a landlord–all landlords have to exterminate pests in NYC rental units.

I actually think there should be much more and better affordable housing, but that’s another story. In terms of bed bugs, I would really like to know which firm NYCHA uses for this treatment, or if they have an in-house unit.

14 sylvia rodriguez March 3, 2007 at 10:19 am

Need help to let higher management know what is going on in cypress tx
need email address to email aimco ….been ignore

please help me

15 sylvia rodriguez March 3, 2007 at 10:21 am

Need help to be directed to the aimco management to hear what is going on in cypress tx please help get the complaint depart in denver colorado …I have been ignored since december

16 nobugsonme March 3, 2007 at 11:36 am

Hi Sylvia,
Sorry–We can’t help. This is a blog to support people with bed bugs, and spread information about bed bugs and how to fight them. We don’t know anything about AIMCO–just what was in the article posted here. Good luck.

17 36 - 2 March 4, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Apparently the the largest apartment rental firm AIMCO is already covering their butt by now charging for pest spraying as an extra in their Apt. Renewal Lease if you request it. Have I had bed bugs in my Apt from AIMCO? No – or not yet – but I’ve been “bugged” by lots of other bugs living next to the apt building boiler, trash room and laundry. My advice, always have cans of Raid handy and make sure you call the Maintenance Dept between normal business hours of Mon thru Fri 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Oh, and yes, always refer to yourself by number — not name. They do. Mr. 36 – 2 signing off.

(Editor’s note: thanks 36-2 for your comments. You’re lucky not to have had bed bugs, and I hope you don’t get them. If you do, raid won’t be much help; instead call the manager and get an experienced PCO in right away. If what you say is true, that they are now charging tenants for pest services, this probably depends on location. From what little I know, AIMCO is a national management company–in many localities and states, landlords are required by law to treat for pests, including bed bugs. See our faqs, including the one for tenants, which may or may not include your state or city, yet.

18 geh April 9, 2007 at 11:21 pm

I live in an AIMCO building too, and I had the EXACT same thing happen to me.. I moved in, got bitten all to Heck, and then they told me no one else had complained, it’s all my fault, I’m on my own, they’re not going to help. They even implied that my “cluttery lifestyle” was at fault for the infestation. As if a few stacks of magazines and dvds attract bugs.. give me a break!!

I can’t afford an exterminator! I think I will go find that lawyer! GRR!

19 nobugsonme April 10, 2007 at 1:01 am

Good luck, Geh. Clutter does NOT bring bed bugs to your home. It does make it tricky to fight them, and more than one person here has embraced a new Zen lifestyle.

20 vacationer March 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm

It’s absolutely true that good laws are needed ASAP…

Here in Indianapolis, it is against the health code to have raccoons in the building, as they carry disease… HOWEVER, how is this code enforced? The health inspector cannot write the landlord up for raccoons unless s/he sees a raccoon. Since the inspectors work 8-5, when coons are hidden in their holes, this isn’t much use. The inspector can write the building up for having gaps large enough for a coon to enter, but if these gaps are on the top of a 3-story building where it is hard to find them without a cherry picker, this is no help either. Thus, we have a law that is completely unenforceable. (Thus, my building, which is managed by a huge company similar to AIMCO, has been inhabited by raccoons continuously for over two years.)

It sounds like many bedbug laws are in this stage too.

– v.

21 Don't let em bite March 29, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Being a tenant of an Ottawa Ontarion apartment in Ottawa Ontario Canada, I just realized, through a bunch of bites and actually finding a number of bed bugs themselves, that I am now a tenant of an infested apartment. As it turns out, my across the hall neighbour (in a ten story apartment building) was sprayed by the landlord last week, and now the pests have moved into my apartment. I don’t think Ontario has any kind of law about tenants being required to pay for such infestations, but luckily, my landlord has called a pest control company who is spraying my apartment this week. The problem is so bad in the city, and also in Toronto, that pest control companies are backed up. My landlord is even replacing my carpet to find and treat the problem. As far as I’m concerned, this should be requires. The losses of tenants infested with bed bugs is not only financial, but mental as well. I haven’t slept in days.

22 nobugsonme March 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Don’t let em bite,

I am glad your landlord is being helpful at this stage. Please come to the Bedbugger forums (link above right) if you have questions or need support. And I hope your problem is gone soon!

23 MARTHA July 5, 2008 at 7:12 pm


24 nobugsonme July 6, 2008 at 1:09 am


I am not sure of the source of your allegation that this building is “number one” for bed bugs in the community.

However, if you are a tenant, and tenants have notified the landlord in writing of their bed bug problems, but the problem is not being addressed, I would encourage you and all the other affected tenants to consider calling 311 and file a complaint with the Housing and Preservation Dept., who will inspect, and assuming their inspection verifies the problem, can issue a violation and force the landlord to treat.

25 Roshanda Haynes October 16, 2008 at 9:35 pm

I know what you are going through with those bed bugs they try and cover up the bugs. I am going through a similiar case. I got bed bugs, black mold, and etc. I moved out for the sake of my kids and my landlord is taking me to court so I filed a counterclaim against him. So I understand what landlords try to do when you break your lease due to the fact that they are bad landlords.

26 tanya December 23, 2008 at 2:37 am


27 nobugsonme December 23, 2008 at 2:46 am


See if this FAQ covers your city or state.

If not, you need to talk to a tenants’ rights group and find out your rights. The local laws MAY require landlords to treat for bed bugs. Even where tenants are liable to pay for treatment, this is sometimes true only if ONE person has bed bugs — it may be relevant that others have them too. Definitely look into your rights.

Even if you are liable to pay for treatment, it MAY be illegal for them to evict you. I am not a lawyer and you either need a local tenants’ organization or a lawyer (free legal aid is available and we have a FAQ on that too).

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