landlord’s duty to tell prospective tenants about bed bugs?

by nobugsonme on May 7, 2007 · 35 comments

in bed bug disclosure, bed bug lawsuits, bed bugs, bed bugs and real estate, housing laws, legal aspects of bed bugs

A reader asks:

I’m wondering if there’s a legal duty for landlords to report an
infestation to potential tenants?

Dear Reader,

Local laws almost always specify the types of homes landlords are expected to provide (in good repair, free of pests, etc.) and so landlords are almost always required to provide a home without bed bugs, and to remove them when they appear. (We’ve outlined some of the local North American laws here.)

I am not a lawyer, but I’d consult one in this instance. For the record, I am also not enthusiastic about lawsuits for their own sake, but I do think something needs to be done as far as setting a precedent where not telling tenants about bed bugs gets a landlord in big trouble.

If you think that your landlord knew the residence was infested before it was rented, especially if they never treated it for bed bugs, you might have a case.

1 hymenoptera May 7, 2007 at 10:35 am

This certainly has the potential to remain a chicken or egg question but it does need
some sort of guidelines. I too am not crazy about law suits especially since it is always after the fact and the facts are questionable. While certainly some property owners or building managers are aware of a bed bug problem some may not be, it is not the kind of thing that you tell a property owner if you are moving out. So how
will he know, if you have dealt with management about bb while you were there then they certainly know and should intensively treat after you vacate. Some folks move from one p[lace hoping to evade their bugs but bring them with them (much like getting a new mattress or moving to another room thinking these steps alone will solve the problem) to the new apt. But they may be boxed and not found for a week or two. On the other hand they may have picked them up in the moving process or in furnishing the new home. Perhaps some sort of signed statement that
to the best of the property owners knowledge there is no bb activity. The new occupant on the other hand may want to put out traps or tape ASAP to see whats there. But this again is flip side as it leaves the landlord with a defense that there were no bed bugs prior to the current occupancy. If on the other hand the landlord signs and then the tenant can prove that there was prior knowledge then there is potential for a suit. Perhaps property owner and or tenant could hire a bb dog
but I see this only in high end apts.

2 Bugalina May 7, 2007 at 11:44 am

This is a very complex problem….however it has to lean one way or the other, eventually…I think the only way it can lean is that the Burden of Proof must lie with the Landlord…I have said this before….this is not a good time to be a landlord, .. this is a “cost of doing business”….This speaks to the importance of something being developed that will kill bed bugs much faster and more efficiently than the expensive and labor intensive stuff that is being used now….Nothing is perfect…but these multiple, costly, treatments are ludicrous…if the landlord knowingly rents an infested apt. they must be held accountable…there must be legislation passed that protects tenants…If i have to err on one side or the other…it has to be on the side of the tenant….To the landlords I say..IF you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen….or start lobbying for better , less costly , solutions to bed bugs….the going rate on Long Island is now over 400 dollars a room…this is nothing short of criminal…

3 willow-the-wisp May 7, 2007 at 11:49 am

I think the best possible thing for people to start doing–even though it is not always possible, seems like an extra and unfair burden, is to treat the new place as being possibly bed bug infested and treat it accordingly. By “Bed Bug proofing” a new dwelling PRIOR to moving in you are, in the long rum protecting your financial investment. I’m talking about anywhere not just apartments—because Bed Bugs are just about everywhere:
They “hitch-hike” easily, even for thousands of miles in somebody else’s suitcase yet may wind up finding their way into your stuff or onto your sweater and then into your new dwelling.
We have a few people in the forums that seem to think that the bed bugs they may now have–have come in through an open window. This is not a bed bugs preferred mode of transport” but a bed bug can and will travel up to 100 feet, if it is hungry enough, to find a new (I’m sorry) “HOST”.
Bed bugs just don’t know about the fed sate and local laws–all they know is finding human blood as a much preferred food source. As parasites, all they know is blood and “leeching” if you will. Another point is that if a place has rodents–Bed Bugs can and will survive on that “fuel” (a rather un-tasty morsel for them) until something better like an unsuspecting human being comes along. I for one treat all my clothing as if it is potentially bed bug infested.
Pre-treatment bug proofing can cost a few hundred to a few thousand bucks. And then– only if a PCO company is willing to treat for this reason. Many won’t, and rightly so. This is because of the increased resistance to pesticides: so it therefore becomes the new renter or purchasers’ responsibility–Whether this is fair or not–and it is not fair, what else can a person do, considering all the variables??? And the costs, later on, are phenomenal!
What would be fair—and cost effective–would be for the Governments (Federal, State and Local) to admit to this problem as a “new and EVER growing “GENERAL” national emergency”. Spending more money at home now, rather than abroad on other issues, it cost effective: either it’s going to be 50 BILLION NOW, ON MASSIVE ERADICATION METHODS —OR SEVERAL TRILLION 3 TO 5 years down the road.

I kid you not. Bed Bugs make multiplying rabbits look like a picnic, and since so many STILL don’t take this problem seriously, education may not be the best “cost effective” way to go. SO WHEN WILL OUR GOVERNMENT(S) START DEALING WITH THE NEW “GENERAL “NATIIONAL EMERGENCY THE BED BUG EPIDEMIC.

4 parakeets May 7, 2007 at 2:17 pm

San Francisco has rules about disclosure but I haven’t heard of other places. At the bedbug conference they clearly told the hotel audience to train their staff to “deflect, not disclose” about bedbugs and that a hotel, for example, did not have to disclose that a room had bedbugs. The desk could tell the renter that the renter “would have to talk to the day shift manager about that.” “No Disclosure” was the name of the game. Unless there are local rules that are ENFORCED there will be no disclosure. People in the audience said that the other tenants had a right to know, but speakers said that when a complex tells its tenants that there are bedbugs “pandemonium ensues.” So they don’t tell people.

So there basically is no disclosure.

I bet the aggregate pheremone traps won’t be put out in places by landlords and hotels because then tenants will have easier proof that there are bedbugs. The traps themselves will disclose!

5 parakeets May 7, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Mark my words–behind the scenes, groups of landlords are already gathering to change the rules so that the cost of bedbug treatment will be shifted to the tenant in the next go-round. Tenants don’t have the strength to fight it. Legislators are working on sales of used mattresses, not on disclosure rules. Too little, too late.

Landlords know that for years down the road, there is no effective pesticide in sight. DDT will not be allowed due to the public cry against it and the fact that bedbugs don’t yet cause illnesses. There is no solution. People can move and they will take bedbugs with them. 80% or more of apartment buidings will have bedbugs as people move around. Schools, hospitals and firehouses will have bedbugs (they already do.) People with bedbugs will be throwing things out, not buying new things, performing poorly in their jobs, in need of therapy for anxiety and itching (they already are)–this is going to have a negative effect on our economy. It will hit single family homes last, but hit them it will. Unless people stop traveling, stop going to restaurants and movie theaters, stop buying things in stores, stop visiting friends’ homes–that’s about the only way to avoid bedbugs. Most people in multi-unit buildings in major cities like Toronoto, New York and Boston are already dealing with them. The shame of bedbugs are making a lot of people quiet. We are the vocal ones. Listen to our voice.

6 Bugalina May 7, 2007 at 2:53 pm

I can’t dispute anything you say Parakeets….I have already severely altered my lifestyle because of bed bugs…NYC won’t collapse due to the lack of money I give them but I can say that because of bed bugs I haven’t gone to the plays or museums or restaurants or movies, that I normally would have. I have convinced others to lessen their hotel visits into the city as well….How can I be expected to do anything else when the cost of extermination for a single family home on Long Island is now in the 6000.00 range…Am I the only one who sees the absurdity in all of this !!! We now have an airline personel family member on the blog who says her husband no longer takes his laptop on flights…and that he wraps his luggage entirely in plastic….Its like we are living in the dark ages…when all intellectual reasoning was cast aside…when ignorance reined…we are actually giving people information on how to snuff out blood sucking bugs from their beds, books, walls, floors, electronics…..this is all very very sad…a pathetic statement about the state of affairs in our country….

7 willow-the-wisp May 7, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Pathetic doesn’t cover it … Ludicrous doesn’t cover it–yet it is all too often covered up. I so agree with Parakeets and Bugalina on every single point right down to the letter. Above in my post although I feel it so unfair–it is my last ditch effort to try and lessen the expenses incurred by people and to keep the bugs in check in some small manner–even that at this point is ludicrous!
At the very least bed bugs is “a national general health Emergency of epidemic proportions.”

8 Bugalina May 7, 2007 at 4:33 pm

The problem with Western medicine is that they separate “mental well being” from “physical well being”….mental health is health….and bed bugs do a mental number on everyone’s health…they are a mentally destructive bug….If I was a monkey or a cavewoman maybe they wouldn’t bother me….but I grew up in the USA with indoor plumbing and heat..not to mention a whole lot of other 21st century quality of life items, like a computer, cable TV , internet, Ipods.toilet paper ( which Sheryl Crow would like to have rationed , ask her what she would use to kill her bed bugs !! ) .etc…….all of a sudden some 10 minute blood sucking cave dwelling bug is in my bed!! Crawling all over my stomach, face , arms and legs, while I am in rem sleep.. Am I supposed to sit quietly by when the PCO hands me a bill for 6 thousand dollars..and tells me that I have to live out of plastic bags for a year and a half…While they are spreading like wildfire, and so expensive to exterminate..I can get them again….and not one NY Government official is raising their voice..except Gianaris..and he’s getting shoot down by a Bd. of Ed. member who is trying to pretend the school infestations aren’t going to get worse…and I should say nothing…nothing about how messed up it is that we don’t have a pesticide to kill them….I would like to ask Mayor Bloomberg if he wouldn’t mind getting into a bed bug infested bed..or inviting his family over for Thanksgiving Dinner to sit on his bed bug infested sofa…or send his kids into a bed bug infested school…or if he thinks that 500 dollars for the first room and 400 dollars for each following room is a fair price for a single Mother..or a working class family who is trying to get by in NY…Ask him about the shelters in NYC that he and his administration allowed to get so infested that the “walls appeared to be moving” because of bed bug motion……Such stupidity I never thought I’d live to see the day….such ignorance..

9 willow-the-wisp May 7, 2007 at 4:42 pm

If Mz. crow’s bed-bugs laid three eggs in her armpit, as did mine–she’s change her tune.
And that is it–we are not cave people.
What is rem sleep?
I’ve forgotten lol

10 Bugalina May 7, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Rem sleep is the deepest sleep we fall into ( this stage of sleep is very important for good health, and it is usually severely disrupted during bed bug infestation)…the bed bugs sense Rem sleep because its the time of sleep during we we exhale the heaviest concentration of co2..and the monsters know this…since they need such a long time to suck our blood, nature gave them the ability to sense our Rem sleep stage……such wonderful musings !! If I was King of the Jungle….I’d be out there doing all I could to get something to kill them…unless I was King of the “Chemical mfg.Jungle”… donating a lot of money to political coffers…so I could keep my billions rolling in…”Let them eat Bed Bugs “

11 willow-the-wisp May 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm

maybe the politicians are stuck in rem sleep?
donno don’tseem to be doing much else?
happy day all!

12 jessinchicago May 7, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Hey Guys!

Landlords. The post is about landlords. So, I think Nobugs is right on the money. It’s going to take a precedent-setting case or two to iron this out. Bugalina mentioned “burden of proof,” and that’s what’s so gray about this issue. No landlord is ever going to be able to prove that a tenant brought bedbugs into a residence. And no tenant is ever going to be able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they didn’t. Scary, right? This is where I think the judicial system will uphold the standard that’s been in place for a long, long time- that landlords are responsible for providing habitable conditions, no matter what. It will be hard for anyone to argue that bloodsucking parasites do NOT create an uninhabitable living condition. And frankly, it only makes sense for landlords to wise up and take matters into their own hands so that they protect their property. Because if they allow bedbugs to spread throughout their buildings by refusing to pay for treatment which, in many cases, will prevent tenants who can’t afford PCOs from getting ANY proper treatment, well, they’re just screwing themselves.

13 pissedinastoria May 7, 2007 at 10:23 pm

well thanks for answering that for me. i appreciate all your comments. i actually have proof that my landlord knew the building had bedbugs when he rented me the apt. my problem is that the proof is my immigrant neighbors who aren’t really sure of their rights and are not really trying to cause any trouble. they also have been buying pesticide from an exterminator to treat the bedbugs themselves (because the landlord wouldn’t do anything about it) for over a year. So, the exterminator knows about them too. But I bet it would be bad business for him to go into court against a landlord…who would hire him for jobs then?? my neighbor (she’s married with two kids…the little girl is just over a year. she was a BABY when they were buying pesticides to spray around the apt…there were bedbugs crawling out of the walls!) ok. my neighbor basically said that she was glad i started taking pictures because it wasn’t until then that the landlord started his measly attempt to do anything.

i’m so upset about this. i get home and itch all the time. i’m so stressed out that my skin has broken out (not sure if the little bumps on my face are pimples or nymph bites) and i have a never ending stress related fever blister (two weeks and counting). who WOULDN’T need therapy after this?!

14 jessinchicago May 7, 2007 at 10:52 pm

PIA- I’m so sorry. Breathe. You’re not alone, and this will end, I promise.

You can call 311 in NYC to report this, and you’ll get help. Listen, look at all of our FAQs because they’ll be helpful to you. And check out the forums on this site- it’s a great place to land. You can get advice and vent and just, well, cope there.

Also, I would highly recommend consulting an attorney if you can afford it. It sounds like negligence to me, but I’m no lawyer.

We’ve been where you are, we are where you are, and we’re surviving. You will, too.

15 willow-the-wisp May 7, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Like I said yesterday pissed, you’ve every rite to be pissed. You are very welcome here. In the forums we start topics help support each other iron, out differences–working toward many solutions and hashing over bed bug social theory, including find sing the right approach to get the politicians who make to housing laws to assist.
I would hope you stick around.
earnestly willow

16 Michele May 8, 2007 at 8:08 am

I live in NewYork city. I have been battleling Bedbugs four months. I spend sleepless nights and I am stressed all the time. I lost every thing including my life savings trying tio get rid of them. They are not leaving. My Management sends me a half fast exterminator who never shows up so more bugs will fester. If he does show up he doesn’t do the job right the same story with the exterminator comapny I had hired for about $700 dollars. 311 did nothing for me but send HPD to confirm I had bed bugs something I already Knew.

17 pissedinastoria May 8, 2007 at 10:41 am

I just had the saddest laugh ever. I was thinking how great it would be to meet you all in a real support group because you seem so nice. Then I realized that’s out of the question. Can’t get rid of bedbugs by hanging out with other people who have them.

le sigh.

but i am totally going to become an active member of the online community, and i do hope that we can all come up with solutions to these bastards.

18 Bugalina May 8, 2007 at 11:58 am

Michele…Can you call an attorney?? I believe some advertise on this Blog….I hate to hear stories like yours…and Pissedinastoria…I do think that it is possible to prove that an apt. had a prior infestation, esp. if the bldg. has infestation problems. Like Jess says, the law really has no choice but to side with the tenant…There are many, many problems involved in bed bug infestations….One of the biggest problems for people living in multi-family dwellings is that if the landlord ignores the signs of infestation then it will start to spread to other apts…and you wind up with a bldg. infestation. I think that if you are in a bldg. with known prior infestation , in which the landlord is treating inadequately, you have a decent shot at a law case…I know people don’t like this but you have to protect yourself, and it cannot be easy to get rid of an infestation in a bldg. that isn’t getting proper treatment. Document everything…

19 LMK Entomologist May 8, 2007 at 7:09 pm

The California Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Bed Bug Infestations recommend that landlords in California inform current and future tenants of a bed bug infestation. However, the Guidelines are not a legislative mandate and no inspectors can enforce the Guidelines as if they were Government Code. Hopefully, landlords inform future tenants to reduce their liability!

Check out the California Guidelines here:

20 nobugsonme May 9, 2007 at 5:08 am

I do understand hymenoptera’s reservations about jumping to conclusions. There are cases like PIA’s, though–we’ve seen them before–often the landlord will even admit to tenants that they knew, (I’ve heard of other cases where the landlord told the tenant they came from a second neighbor–as if that lets the landlord off the hook as far as solving the problem is concerned.)

Anyway, PIA/Pissed, we’re glad you found us (and MIchele too!) and hope we can help.

21 Nita June 20, 2007 at 12:11 am

Hello my name is nita and i’m going through the same thing. But my landlord told me six or seven months ago someone up stairs had them but they moved out. I need sugguestions on were to start. Because they did not spray the whole buildding now I have them and that sucks because i’ve only been living there for six months. So either they knew when i moved in our it happened right after i moved in. And since then they could have said something. And i work at a daycare so I have not been staying home, living out of trashbags. Please give me some kind of hope.

22 nobugsonme June 20, 2007 at 1:24 am

I don’t know what to say. I suggest you read about some of the bed bug lawsuits involving tenants, which might give you a better idea about whether you can take some kind of legal approach (you could also ask a lawyer):

Is your landlord treating your unit as well as the rest of the infested units? Have PCOs been inspecting the other apartments?

The best thing, in my opinion, is to simply make sure this is being taken care of. We have tenants info on our FAQ for tenants which outlines various NYC options including calling 311 (though I’d only do that if s/he STILL is not treating properly).

Finally, if you are getting treatment, you should know that it is hard to eliminate bed bugs if you are not sleeping in your usual spot. Bed bugs need to be tempted to come out in search of food, cross the poison and die. If you sleep elsewhere, there’s no bait. They can remain dormant for a year. However, there is hope. We have FAQS on protecting your bed and isolating it so you will be bait but do not need to be bitten! Also, we have a FAQ on how to deal with clothing so it’s less likely you take bed bugs out with you. We all stayed at home and many of us followed these guidelines and they can work well.

Hope that helps.

23 betimeryhmecometolifeinstlouis October 11, 2007 at 11:20 am

Hello everyone, I just stumbled across this site.

For many months I have been looking for advise and help on what to do with a case of BED BUGS and the landlord is calling them “Fleas” because you want them to get rid of the bugs.

I have ran into Who Knows Who.

When I made phone calls I got no response out of people like the Inspectors & Attorney’s instead the landlord made up some bull crap to the inspector MONTHS after I called and they finally show up and tell me there is no evidence to proove what the landlord said but if this place is infested with bed bugs you have to move out in SEVEN days.

I was already in the process of it at this point but I had rented a retail store and an apartment, I had to go through everything I owned and throw most of it away everythng I wanted to save I treated with a spray I bout at the Pharmacy then wraped it in plastic and it worked I hope it has only been a month and we haven’t really unwraped anything we mostly saved personal items that can’t be replaced and the rest went in the trash.

My family thought we walked into a dream, I was in the middle of a divorce and I found an apartment and a store front down stairs. It ended up being our worst nightmare I lost my job, my investment, my belongings, Stress is unbelievable my family has been seperated, my grandchildren had to stop coming to grandma’s house while mommy or daddy was at work, one of them is now afraid to go to sleep at night one is afraid to stay at grandma’s house now.Some of us have scars from head to toe.

These people are still running a business in this building I know for a fact it is in three parts of the building. I don’t know how long the problem has been there but I do know it has been more than two years. I had a woman reach me that said she lived there prior to my moving in and she lost everything because of the bugs and the landlord would not do anything about it, she wished she would have been able to do something about it but now I can’t find her but I did find the sister.

I am going forward with court proceedings without an attorney trust me we are scared but we are going to do what we can to get someone to take care of this problem. I did not want to go public with this problem because I have teenagers and we are getting embarrassed by those that already know about the problem because now the landlord is going around telling people we brought these bugs.

I have alot of support from friends and family along with past landlords saying this is a new problem in my life and I had way too many nice things to want to be loosing due to a bug. Pictures will tell all in the court room I hope. I would not wish this problem on anybody and the only quick fix is to send everything to the dump. I could not take the problem with to the new place and I wanted out of that nightmare and then I was given a dead line so we lost thousands in furniture etc.

I wish all of those that are battling this problem lots of luck it’s a rough one. I hope the Judge makes him shut the building down and treat it the right way. You can’t get anything done if you don’t try and you will only know if it makes a difference if you try, that saying is what is getting me through this I’m not one for sueing but this uis something to far gone to let them get away with this effected everyone in my family and friends. This falls in a case of Breech of Implied Warranty of Habitability the hardest part is prooving if they were there and the landlord did not treat for them.

Good Luck to all this is a very costly and streesful pest to deal with until now I only knew they were a cute saying not a real bug.

24 nyjammin October 11, 2007 at 12:37 pm

So sorry for your troubles. Thanx for sharing your story. Is it possible to get in touch w/the woman who was a tenant before and you 2 could go to court together? This woman could verify that the problem was there before you even stepped foot in that place. The landlord telling everyone about your bugs and that you brought them in is called “slander” and that is against the law. Maybe you can sue him for slander as well.

Just a couple of suggestions.

25 caroline gentry October 24, 2007 at 12:44 pm

I have a question. We are renting a single family home, had an outbreak of bedbugs, began treating just after labor day weekend. Have been through 2 different companies, much more successful with the second. Notified the owner when we were going to go with the second company due to costs and methods which a landlord would need to be in the loop on. She would not help with the cost of treatment, and we have a son highly allergic to the bites, so we had to go ahead and pay the second company as well.
Owner claims we brought them in, in fact suggested damages upon our leaving. I have filed a claim in district court (MD) upon advice of attorny generals office – saying let a judge decide. Don’t have a court date yet, but need to know what I am up against regarding this not being a multi unit rental

26 kara October 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I am in the middle of a suit against my ex landlord. I was wondering if the landlord can just say that the pest company is responsible because they rented me the apartment, trusting the pest company that the apt. was clean?

27 nobugsonme October 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Hi kara,

I am NOT a lawyer. Do you have one advising you?

I don’t think this would necessarily let the landlord off the hook. It may be the case that the landlord would take his/her own legal action against a PCO that claimed the apartment was bed bug-free. Again, I stress I’m not qualified to give legal advice. The answer may have a lot to do with the laws wherever you are.

28 kara October 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm

The landlord told me that the pest company assured him that I was not at risk even though they were spraying the apartment below me. I called the pest company and they said that their policy is to recommend a block of apartments being sprayed where bedbugs are concerned. I took with me when I left, one of the many dead bugs under the new carpet, and I took a piece of drywall with bed bug droppings and have since had that confirmed by a forensic entomologist. I just don’t want them to squirm out of this. I believe they are ultimately responsible, it is probably just irrational fears now that I am so “close”. Yes, I have an attorney on retainer but I am representing myself pro se. I am fighting this battle on principal and for all of the poor immigrants, college students and section 8 housing people in that subdivision who have been intimidated and bullied into thinking they have no choice or those who actually do not have the means to leave

29 nobugsonme October 31, 2009 at 12:10 am

Hi kara,

PCOs tend to recommend that adjacent or attached units searched, if not treated. Some even recommend this for the entire building as yours says they did.

Landlords may refuse to do this for various reasons. Some are simply ignorant of how easily bed bugs spread. They may think a PCO is just trying to sell them more services without their needing it. Others may simply not be able to afford such extensive work.

I am not excusing them by any means, but these are some reasons which explain such a refusal. Ultimately, this will backfire and in buildings such as yours, they may end up with a severe and widespread problem which takes much more money and time to cure.

I wish you luck and hope you’ll keep us posted either via comments or privately.

30 desperateinmass November 3, 2009 at 1:17 am

the same thing that happened to caroline gentry happened to me except it started 2 days after i moved in. I thought my step-daughter was being bitten by mosquitos only to find out it was bedbugs one and a half mo. later. I immediately called my landlord and told him about the situation and he said fine look for a pest control company but if it’s going to cost like $1200.00 or so I won’t be able to pay . so the pco comes out and one week after the first treatment there come the bugs again. I then called him and told him that if they came back after the second treatment that I wanted to get the ok to break the lease, immediately he said “yup, that’s fine”. so then of course the bugs come back after the second treatment and I called him hysterical and he went on to say they came from my daughters bed. Anyway I spoke with him today and he told me that he would pay for another treatment but that I have to pay for half of the cost of the treatment. and that if they come back after the third attempt that I’m going to have to move because he can’t be dishing money out every month. But I recently found out that the previous tenant got evicted for non-payment of rent which leads me to believe that it could be due to BEDBUGS. so i’m starting my own investigation because now i may have to start from scratch and I’m a single mother raising 4 kids. this is not fair. can someone please give me some advise?

31 sandra November 3, 2009 at 2:12 am

Kara I have been looking for a lawyer for months and cannot seem to get one to take my case. My case is very bad, I know all of you all are dealing with the same thing and I don’t mean to sound unconcerned about your cases and how badly it has tormented your lives it is the most terrible thing I belive out side losing a child can happen to anyone. My case is so bad with my land lady it has elevated to higher levels than I would have ever imagined. At first I thougth just get rid of everything and spray and clean real good and replace my things I lost. Yeah right, the landlady had done to me some terrible things. She refused to spray until I went to the health office and throwed a fit just about whipped her butt. She has lied on me to the other tenants telling them all sorts of nasty lies saying I BROUGHT THEM IN.. yeah right !! The next door neighbor had them and she didn’t tell us or have our apartments sprayed and there were about 6 of us on once corner of the building who got them we all had them. I got rid of everthing I had in cloth and because things got so ouot of control someone was going to get hurt and it wasn’t gonna be me so I moved. They did come and spray and I got the man to spray inside my boxes and tubs and left them sitting there in the apt. for 3.5 weeks The landlady slapped one lady and I told her to slap me? She knew better !! So this tenant with my help filed a law suit on the landlady for slapping her the court date is sometime this month and she will imform me and I AM GOING TO GO TO COURT WITH HER. I would love to talk to a lawyer about my case. I spent two days in the hospital for itching and swelling and nerves before I found out I had the bugs. My son came and spent some time with me and the bugs where in my couch and they like to eat him alive. I have pics of everything from start to finish and all my notes and document from the land lady to the owners. I have left no stone unturned and still under doctors care over this crap. The skin fell off my feet from I guess walking around in the apt. after they sprayed.

So Kara please I want to talk to your lawyer. Ask him/her if they would like to review my files and get me their email address. Thanks. my email address is..

32 nobugsonme November 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm


It sounds like you’re in Massachusetts. The laws on who pays for treatment when a rental unit has bed bugs do vary according to city and state, who brought the bed bugs in, and other factors.

Start with the first FAQ here and see if your city/state is covered. If you’re in Boston, it’s good news indeed.

If you want support, please come to our forums:

33 sandra December 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

Where did you find an attorney Kara? Send him/her my way please I got a good one, on my landlady and I want to sue her!

34 desperateinNH July 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Hoping someone can give me some advise. I bought a mattress back in Dec 09 from Jordans furniture after I moved downstairs into my ex landlords apartment. I was living upstairs from him for 8 months. My ex-landlord had weekly over night guest and parties before he moved into his single family home. I than took over his apartment. In January I started getting bites. I thought they were hives so I went to the dr’s and he prescribed my a cortisone medication. The bite that I thought were hives continued to come back. I never thought of bedbugs or saw any until April 2010. I didn’t know what this bug was that I killed on my pillow case and caused a blood streak. I never thought of bedbugs and was oblivious to them. I happened to see a show about them on Nightline. I freaked out thinking of them and tore off the sheets. I didn’t see any sign of them. I went to an exterminator and told them about my so called hives and about the bug I killed on my pillow case. They said, “you probably have them.” I was sick and upset over this. The exterminator sold me climb up cups. I was told in 3 nights if I had them, they would apear in the cups. You put them under your bed post legs and if you have them they will be in the cups. On the third night I found one in the cup. I took the bug to the exterminator and was confirmed. HOW? How could I get bed bugs? I live alone, no over night guest and had a brand new $1,000.00 mattress. I was in the mist of already moving because my landlord rented my old apartment upstairs to a party girl and couldn’t take it there anymore. What the heck am I going to do now? I called Jordans and told them about my new mattress and how they delivered my new mattress in the same truck as taking out old mattresses. Jordan’s refuses to take the blame. My ex-landlord hired an exterminator with heat treatment. I threw away the brandnew mattress and whole bedroom set. I lived in that apartment for another month on a mattress that was in the spare bedroom that there were no signs of bedbugs on. I still slept with a flashlight and all the lights on until I moved slowly into the new place. It took eternity to move. Everything was double bombed even after the exterminator came. I took every pre-caution you could think of. Threw things out I probably didn’t have too. Here is my delima, Jordans will never be found guilty for giving me bedbugs. How can you prove it. After loosing close to $4,000.00 for my old bedroom set and brand new one. Plus dumping fees. My ex-landlord works with me. He wants me to pay his extermination bill. I offered him only if the courts found Jordans guilty and was ordered to pay me. My ex-landlord harrasses me at work and talks openly about it in front of our co-workers. He screamed at me I brought them in because I purchased a new mattress. I didn’t know it was illegal to buy new furniture. Am I liable for paying this extermination bill? Others have stated they were possibly in his apartment before I moved downstairs. He said no way or he would have them in his new single family home. Funny, after he had the exterminator at my old place he purchased a set of new mattresses himself??

35 nobugsonme July 24, 2010 at 12:04 am


Sorry to hear your story.

Note: it does not sound like your landlord used a pest control firm that does professional heat treatment, because this (done properly) will kill all bed bugs and eggs in one shot. Of course, if attached neighbors are untreated, bed bugs may come over (for example, if the landlord had them and lives in the building). I am not sure about the reference to everything being “double bombed” but bombs don’t work on bed bugs, in case you or the landlord has used them.

We aren’t lawyers and cannot give legal advice. You’d need to find a lawyer. We have FAQs on legal issues including finding a lawyer and summaries of recent bed bug cases. Hope it helps.

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