Bedbugs in shared house(5 posts)
Hi all, hope you can offer some advice. Moved into a shared house of seven some months back. A month after moving in i suffered from rashes on my arms, legs,torso and shoulders. Thought i had an allergy of somekind. But a week ago i woke up at four in the morning an discovered my headboard had several insects on it. Discovered they were bedbugs and so took the headboard apart and discovered a few dozen in the framework. Got rid of them with a lighter and alcohol wipes and next day had a really good hoover and boil wash of bedsheets. Ive since dumped the headboard in the back garden. Also discovered signs of them inside the box frame with excretia and dead ones. I now sleep with the bedside light on and facing the other side of the bed , seeing a lot less bites now but my ankles and lower legs are occasionally bit.
Have spoken to other tenants and they say they have no signs of biting or any other signs of the bedbugs, although one did say he found one in some toilet roll. Have informed the landlady and she says there has beed a problem with it before in three of the rooms, of which all were treated by rentokil. However even though this being the case she is accusing me of bringing them into the room. I have never come across bed bugs before and find this quite a shocking accusation considering the houses past bedbug activity. The conclusion is that she will pay for a new matress as long as i pay for the rentokil for my room. It does say in the rent agreement that a pest infestation treatment for a room must be paid for by the tenant, so i cant really argue. But what gets me is that perhaps the whole house should of been done in the first place rather than only those rooms affected. And the fact that she blames me so reinforcing the tenancy stipulation that i have to pay for the rentokil. I suppose there is no way of proving either way the bedbugs were in the room when i moved in or not.
Anyone had similiar experiences and know how to handle this?
I've never been in that situation before and this is all new to me as well. But I don't think your lease/contract agreement is right. Why would she put that on there that the tenant is responsible for pest control? Because she's guilty and she knows she didn't do a good job in the first place. I would look into this with a lawyer or something. Do some research in your state and see what the law requires on this situation. She was supposed to inform you of the bed bugs prior to moving in (whether currently infested or passed infestations).
She's trying to pull a fast one on you and now she has someone to point her finger at.
If she wants you to contact Rentokil then go ahead and do so and ask when was the last time they were out, how badly infested was the unit, did they treat any of the other units, how many times did they come out. Document it and take action.
I'm no expert, but as a landlord she has the responsibility to maintain her property and that includes getting rid of and preventing pests.
I don't know what state your in but here's an article from New York The Sun just to get an idea of what's going on between landlord's and tenants....
Thanks for the replies. I live in the UK so maybe laws are different here. But yes, it does seem an odd thing to put into the rent agreement. Rentokil are coming tomorrow and I shall be asking wether its feasible to only treat one room in a shared house. I will be moving out at the next available opportunity. I just hope i dont take them with me.
It seems an odd thing to put into the rent agreement also. It speaks to her experience with this issue.
My own stance is that if I'm going to pay for pest control (and I'm open to that in my case), I will do my own research and use a PCO that is sympathetic to my own attitudes to the problem.
You are absolutely correct that the only good way to solve this issue is on a building wide basis. And the landlady is the only one capable to accomplishing this.
Sorry, all I can provide is sympathy. Though there is a very experienced PCO who posts here that I would recommend consulting if/when you decide to move. In fact, but for the existence of that pesky pond, I would have called him in for my own case.
Arg. Yep, she can do this to you, at least as far as bed bugs are concerned. However, specifying your liability for all pest control does rather imply that she knew there was a problem. I know a landlord who blithely moves tenants into known infested properties then tells them that the bugs aren't legally his problem. I'm not sure she can force you to accept blanket liability for pest control though - had thought the liability for notifiable pests at least ultimately remains with the building owner, so this seems an especially odd clause of hers. You could ask the CAB or a Law Centre about it if you can't afford a decent housing lawyer.
Read "Bed Bug Beware" by Richard Strand & David Cain - you can get it from pestfreehome.co.uk It's an excellent all-in-one-place guide to the wretched little ectoparasites.
If you have any way of contacting the former tenants & they can confirm post-treatment bug activity, you might be able to start an epic duty-of-care battle with your landlady, but for your sake, I don't advise it. You're right to want to get out of there as soon as you can but take every possible precaution not to transfer bugs with you. It may mean losing some posessions but that's better than living with bugs long term - I promise.
If you can get recent confirmation of bed bugs in the house prior to your occupancy, or evidence of an established, diffuse infestation; you should be able to make her let you leave without penalty.
Your housemates may be non-reactors & the whole house ought to have been inspected if not treated in the first place. Get a mag light, a camera, (a jeweller's loup or magnifying glass are useful if you can lay hands on such things) & a sturdy ziploc bag or other airtight receptacle for containing live bugs & search the whole house, or at the very least all shared areas & any empty rooms.
If you find evidence of infestation (shed skins, faecal stains, etc) take photos & catch any live critturs you can - the photos could be useful in proving to your landlady that the bugs are established in the house & not something you introduced (extent of staining, number of shed skins, etc).
You need to take precautions to avoid taking your new chums out & about with you, this site & the book will help with that. Anyone you've visited/ had over to visit should do a thorough bug hunt of their own. Discreetly check your work environs too.
Get out of there as fast as you can. Find a single-person dwelling & an unfurnished one to boot. Search for bugs before you sign a contract & don't let the landlord/ lady embarrass you about it. Read up on how to move without transferring bugs. It's not a bad time to be moving - if you're in any of our recently "regenerated" cities except London, there's often such an oversupply of new build flats that you may be able to negotiate somewhere surprisingly decent - some towns are even considering taking masses of unsaleable housing stock into social housing use.
I'd strongly urge you to consult a bed bug specialist if you can find one near your home. If your present pest controllers aren't inspecting the other rooms in the house as a matter of course you may well be wasting your money. If your fellow-tenants resist inpection, get out even faster - some people are dim enough to avoid confirming bed bugs just because they don't want to pay for treatment.
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