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Is my landlord telling the truth?

(5 posts)
  1. USCstudent

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Nov 13 2007 21:39:43
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    I've been having problems with bed bugs for well over a month. It's been taking forever to get my landlord to take any action. I live in LA in a multi-unit apartment complex. We've been getting bit and after two weeks i checked my bed and found an adult bed bug which i kept in a bag to show to the landlord. They had the exterminators in once and after one bite free night we started getting bit again. I kept sending messages to my landlord to have the exterminators back again, and all his messages have been short in response and terse. He told us they heavy sprayed the apartment, and they might be coming from the matresses or box springs, and to spray raid and let it set for 3-4 hours. I knew from reading about bedbugs that this was a bad idea and that spraying my mattress with raid was also very unhealthy, which i told him, and that we wouldn't do that. We got mattress covers for our beds and threw out the box spring.
    It finally took us saying that we wanted a reduced rent if we were going to have to keep living in this apartment for him to arrange another visit. They sprayed a second time and we're still getting bit, just saw a bug this weekend crawling on the living room ceiling. I messaged him again saying we're not paying rent until this is taken care of to which he replied:
    "Exterminator cannot legally spray anymore.
    Maintenance will set bomb foggers now. Send a date
    and time period for that and i'll see if maintenance
    can set it off."
    I know that foggers are a big no-no, but i really don't know if he's just making this up or if the PCO he got is any good. It's called JB Pest Control (Los angeles), and I couldn't find really anything about them online. But i don't know if my landlord is recommending this wrong advice or if they are. Either way nothing's being done about our bugs, and i wasn't sure if it's even true that they can't "legally spray again" or not.
    Can anyone help me out please!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Nov 14 2007 2:43:54
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    What was the interval between visits, USCstudent? (I don't actually know the legal interval, if there is one, but perhaps a PCO will be reading this.) In any case, foggers / bombs are generally bad and will spread them to other units and or scatter them into the walls to hide for another day.

    If the landlord is at all reasonable, he may respond to the recommendations in the California Guidelines for the treatment of bed bugs.

    If he is really reasonable, he might respond to our FAQ on bed bugs and bombs/foggers. (Make sure you print the comments as well as the post.)

    We have heard of cases where stubborn, ignorant landlords became enlightened after tenants shared such information, and while printed or government sources are ideal, some will also respond to our FAQs.

    You might also consider calling the LA county health dept. and the California Public Health Dept who co-wrote those guidelines. You might also call a tenants organization in LA (every city has one) and ask for advice on how to deal with this.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. cosbear

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 18:00:31
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    Hi USCstudent:

    I'm sorry to hear of your problem, I know how horrifying they can be. I can't say for sure what pesticide your exterminator used or what the exact restrictions are in your state. I do know that the exterminator that my landlord used was using a mixture of chemicals the most important one according to him sterilized the bedbugs. The state of Ohio would only allow weekly applications. That exterminator would only contract to spray apartments for 16 applications, 1 each week for four months. If he could still find any indication of bugs, he would insist on another 16 applications. I know the chemicals that can be used and the time periods are different in different states. It is unlikely that one treatment would do much, unless you barely had any, and they caught them right away. I doubt you would be seeing them unless you have quite a few, or maybe your building has quite a few. I know that bombs are not used by professionals in Ohio and the exterminator that was treating our apartments said that he wouldn't use them. If you saw a bedbug on your ceiling when you had the lights on; I would be afraid you have more than a few bugs. I'm not an expert though.

    It's been my experience that they have to be fairly desperate to come out in the light or move very far from the bed or couch they live in. From what I have read, they rarely go more then a few feet from their home except when they are overpopulated or really hungry. In which case some will go searching for a new home and a new host.

    In my case my whole building ended up with them, or at least most of the apartments did have them. Many had been unreported, but once they were reported in three different apartments our exterminator insisted that every apartment be inspected by him once a month or he was quitting. He told the Management company that they should inform everyone in the building when the first bugs were found. He wanted to inspect every apartment and distribute pictures of bugs and bite marks to everyone with tips and information. They said no and kept it hush hush. Most of the chain exterminators in the area of Ohio I was living at the time would not even take a contract for bedbugs unless you got rid of all upholstered furniture in the house first. Our exterminator tried his best to save our furniture because it was almost brand new and we couldn't afford to replace it, but in the end we still had to throw it all away. We did save our mattresses by covering them, but the box springs we had to get rid of. Which is why I'm trying other means besides just professionals. Such as DE and Boric acid and cleansers.
    I have to tell you though that my horror story is probably worse than many. We we're badly infested before we even knew what was going on. Good luck with your problem. I would consider checking with neighbors to find out if any of the adjoining apartments also have a problem. If they are next door even if you get rid of them, they are likely to come back. It happened in my building to more then a few of us. Later... cos

  4. USCstudent

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Nov 26 2007 15:00:32
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    Yikes, what an absolute nightmare this has been. We were finally able to get them to get a new exterminator to come it. Basically it took us refusing to pay rent for these past two months and a ton of phone calls to the management company of the building but we're getting something done about it now. We have a company called Western Exterminators which so far seems much better than whoever else was in here before and im glad now we have open communication between the management, me, and the exterminators. they came in last week to make sure that we did indeed have bugs and to tell us the preparation we'd need to do which was basically move everything out of the bedrooms and closets, wash and bag everything. Im worried though because they're in our living room and kitchen as well, we must have a pretty bad infestation cause theyre in all the ceiling cracks, outlets, light switches, they come for us with the lights on. We found two scurrying toward us on the couch last night, but im worried cause everything we took out is all over the living room and kitchen, so what if they're on all our things still? The guy said when we put everything back the residuals with get them, and in 15 days hes coming back to do it all over again, which makes me feel better, but still we have so many im worried this place is a lost cause.

  5. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Nov 26 2007 15:41:33
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    USC, is he treated the apartments up, down and next door? To ensure that they are not just moving between apartments?


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