Portland State University students vs. bed bugs (and landlord)

by nobugsonme on January 14, 2010 · 3 comments

in bed bug bites, bed bugs, bed bugs and students, bed bugs in colleges, landlords and tenants

Portland State students living (or recently living) in off-campus rentals at the Park Plaza are battling their landlord over bed bugs. Some have sought legal advice from Student Legal and Mediation Services.

This article in the Daily Vanguard
says tenants with bed bugs had their units treated individually on a case-by-case basis, and that the bed bugs kept on coming.

And several students had severe bed bug bite reactions.

“I had to go to the doctor because of an allergic reaction,” [building resident Kris Thomason] said. “The bites were swelling to the size of eggs.”

Another student who moved into the building in late October was bitten and went into anaphylactic shock—a severe reaction similar to bee sting allergies, Thomason said.

The resident couldn’t return to the building, though the apartment managers are holding her deposit and furniture until she pays to break her lease. [Attorney Lynn Clark] is working with the managers to negotiate a settlement.

This student’s out-of-pocket expenses for damages have risen to $6,000.

Thomason is stuck in the building, with an “isolated” bed until her lease expires in February.

The student who went into anaphylactic shock moved out the next day, but the apartment manager is still holding her belongings. They refuse to refund her deposit or return her things until she pays to break her lease, according to Clark.

The problem with reacting to a bed bug complaint by treating just that unit (as tenants claim is happening here) is that it will not eradicate a multi-unit or even building-wide infestation of bed bugs.

Although I do understand how expensive bed bug treatment can be for landlords, I also believe they don’t save a penny in the long run by employing scant or poor methods to treat their rental buildings.

The best way to amass huge treatment costs is to mismanage bed bug treatment, and avoid looking at the big picture, until the entire building is uninhabitable and needs treatment.

And that’s costly even if your tenants don’t have access to a student legal service, and start taking legal action to get their expenses reimbursed, on top of your eventually having to get proper and widespread bed bug treatment for that building.


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