FAQ: I need legal advice but can’t afford a lawyer. What do I do?

by nobugsonme on July 3, 2008 · 15 comments

in bed bugs

Sometimes our readers encounter legal concerns related to their bed bug infestations. If you need legal advice, but can’t afford a lawyer, there may be a legal aid clinic that can help. They are often attached to law schools or social service agencies.

You can often find a local legal aid center by googling the term “legal aid” and the name of your city, or by looking in the phone book.

US residents might use website LawHelp.org, which helps you find local legal aid clinics which may help those who need legal advice and assistance.

Canadians might use the suggestions on the Canadian Bar Association website’s FAQ about legal aid and how to find a lawyer.

More legal resources can be found in our Resources page here.

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1 cris July 6, 2008 at 9:23 pm

We are just returning from a 4 day vacation at a resort in Captiva Island. Had a great time except when we went to sleep. On the 2 day my 3 year old son woke up in the mid night screaming that something had biten him. He than slept over in our bed and I slept in the pull out bed in the living room with our older son. By morning I to was biten as well as our older son. I currently have over 75 bites in my body of which 35 bites are on my right leg.
Also, while waiting for the bus another lady was complaining of the same problems. She thought it was mosquitoe bites in her room. Please tell what can I do to prevent this night vampire from striking again to some family and besides the hotel who should i contact to inforce action.

2 nobugsonme July 7, 2008 at 2:33 am

If you want to take legal action, you will need a lawyer.

If you want someone to inspect this hotel room, you might call the local city or county health department. Many articles mention hotels being inspected for bed bugs and forced to remediate problems after people call the local health dept. and an inspector is sent out.

You might also place a review on http://tripadvisor.com warning others. At the very least, others will see your review before booking.

3 Desiree December 3, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I don’t hear much about tenants suing the exterminating companies that disperse inaccurate information to get the job, repeatedly treat with the same pesticide even though it didn’t work the first 5 times, and then lie about seeing furniture in the tenants’ apartment that wasn’t there “and that is why I can’t get rid of the bedbugs” nonsense.

Has anybody sued the PCO that not only couldn’t get rid of the bedbugs but continually threw out red herrings to cover themselves? The information we received from these so-called professionals is intentionally deceiving.

4 nobugsonme December 4, 2008 at 12:15 am

Hi Desiree,

I have not personally heard of any such lawsuits.

5 Jeff August 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I recently visited a friend’s apartment who’s neighbor, about a month prior, had a bedbug infestation. During my visit, I was bitten several times, and upon returning to my home the next day, I found that I continued to receive new bites.

After having thrown my sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillows into the dryer on HIGH and steaming down most of my mattress, I continue to find new bug bites.

Would the landlord for my friend’s apartment be, at least partially, financially responsible for helping me rid my infestation as the complex did not rid the infestation previously?
Thanks so much

6 nobugsonme August 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

Hi Jeff,

Sorry you are going through that.

I’m not a lawyer and can’t give legal advice. The post above describes how you might go about getting a lawyer’s opinion on whether you have some kind of case.

7 nobugsonme December 14, 2009 at 10:46 am

Updated to add Canadian info.

8 ROSALIND May 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm

MY DUGHTER LIVES IN A HARRISBURG PULIC HOUSING UNIT. SHE JUST RECENTLY FOUND OUT SHE HAS BEDBUGS. HER YOUNGEST CHILD(2)HAS BEEN BITTEN VERY BADLY WHILE HERSELF AND OLDEST CHILD(5)HAVE NO BITES AT ALL. SHERECIEVED ONE TREATMENT OF PEST CONTROL LAST WEEK AND WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SOMEONE COME IN TODAY FOR A SPRAYING BUT WHEN SHE CALLED THE HOUSING AUTHORITY TO SEE WHEN THE PERSON WAS COMING TO SPRAY SHE WAS TOLD HE HAS TO MANY UNITS TO DO TODAY AND SHE WOULD HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL ANOTHER DAY. NOW NEVER THE LEST SHE HAD TO WAIT A WEEK TO BE PUT ON THE LIST FOR BOTH TREATMENTS AND HARRISBURG HOUSING AUTHORITY IS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO COMPAT THIS PROBLEM. SO IF THERE IS A WEEK TO TWO WEEK WAITING LIST TO ME IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH THEY ONLY HAVE ONE PERSON TO FIGHT THIS PROBLEM FOR SEVERAL DIFFERNT PUBLIC HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS. I SUGGESTED TO MY DAUGTHER TO PUT HER RENT MONEY IN ESCROW UNTIL HER BEDBUGS ARE GONE . CAN SHE DO THIS LEGALY EVEN IF SHE IS IN PUBLIC HOUSING?

9 nobugsonme May 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Rosalind,

I am sorry your daughter is going through this. I am glad she has your support, however.

I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice. I suggest calling the following for tenants’ advice:

HARRISBURG FAIR HOUSING COUNCIL
1228 Bailey Street
Harrisburg, PA 17103
238-9540

Also, the Bureau of Codes should be able to tell you if they can help:

CITY OF HARRISBURG
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Bureau of Codes Enforcement
4th Floor, Room 406
Martin Luther King Jr., City Government Center
Harrisburg. PA 17101

* Housing inspection & report housing code violations 255-6552

I suspect, however, that the Bureau of Codes handles non-public housing tenants’ cases, and that the Housing Authority is separate. Again, the first source above should be able to tell you how to proceed.

Some people have found that having local journalists shine a light on their building’s problems can help. You might therefore consider contacting CBS 21 News in Harrisburg. Reporters Ewa Roman and Ben Russell reported on an infested building in Harrisburg last year (see this story: http://bedbugger.com/2009/04/21/harrisburgs-channel-21-news-afraid-to-say-bed-bugs/). They might be interested in the problems plaguing your daughter’s complex.

10 dan wright June 26, 2010 at 3:23 am

i am a disabled person with kidney failure and emphysema apartment mngr. knew neighbor had infestation and took no precautions and lied about source two treatments almost me during cleanup and third is needed out of my pocket what are laws for rights responsibility disclosure and deception

11 nobugsonme June 27, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Hi dan,

I am so sorry you are dealing with bed bugs on top of health problems.

Housing laws are localized, so they depend on where you live. I am not a lawyer but you may be able to fight the landlord for not disclosing or dealing with the problem, but it might take a lawyer and a court date. The post above suggests ways to get free or low-cost legal assistance in your area.

12 Lori June 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm

My work place is invested with bed bugs, what are my rights? I have not gotten them
” thank God” but I’m afraid and they do acknowledge they have the issue. I’ve been bit and it’s quite annoying and painfull mentally and physcally to work under these conditions. My parents are both unemployed and we can not afford this coming home with us, my little brother and I are the only ones working. I’m just wondering what I can do to 1 keep from getting them, and 2 what can I do to push my place of work to do something about this issue?? I appreciate any feed back. Thank you
Lori

13 nobugsonme June 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Hi Lori,

I hope your workplace is getting good, knowledgeable professional help and that they are treating the problem aggressively.

If not, you need to consider whether it would help to have a talk with your boss (which I assume you’ve already done), or whether you may need to file a report with OSHA. Unionized employees may also contact their union reps.

You can find tips to avoid bringing bed bugs home in our Travel FAQs: http://bedbugger.com/faqs/travel

(They’re aimed at people exposed to bed bugs while visiting others, but they do apply to avoiding them at work also.)

Please come to our active forums if you want to continue this conversation — you’ll get lots of support and suggestions from others as well as myself: http://bedbugger.com/forum/

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