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Light Infestation, Heavy Paranoia

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  1. cupcakedream

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 17:16:31
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    Hey everyone. I've been getting a ton of great info on the forums here at bedbugger and I thought I would share my story. if anyone has insights or is in a similar pickle speak up!

    I live in a 3 story apartment building in Portland, Maine with 2 other roommates. My mate found 10-12 adult bugs in her room about 4 weeks ago. Since then we have had 3 pest control companies inspect our house. The 1st, Orkin, confirmed the infestation and my roommate got rid of her bed. She has a futon and took the mattress to the dump. Later we found that the babies/nymph's were actually living and reproducing in the cracks where the pieces of wood adjoined on the futon frame.

    Immediately after finding the bugs and calling Orkin, we alerted our Landlord. He scheduled another company to come and check out the place, it took 5 days or so to get him here. In the meantime, my roommate decided to move to her boyfriends, being in kind of a panic at the situation. Later we read that leaving the place is a bad idea, as the possibility of spreading is increased greatly.

    The 2nd pest control company, Brad from Modern Pest Services, suggested we set up a "Night Monitor" (?) trap to "confirm" we had bed bugs. This was confusing, seeing as we already had proof that there were adults living in the room. Nonetheless the trap was setup for a 7 day period. Another week went by, we found a single nymph in the trap and had caught a few adults and nymph's on our own in the meantime.

    Our landlord, then called a 3rd company, "Atlantic Pest Services" - They brought in a dog, after a week, and the dog found bugs in all 3 bedrooms. At this point I was the only person still sleeping in the apartment. I've read that this can actually cause the bugs to spread out into the apartment - is this true?

    During this process, I have gotten bitten intermittently at night, and have only found 1 live bug in my room. I've recently thrown out my sofa and mattress, and dusted my room with DE. I'm also trying to move by the end of the month, so it made sense to just get rid of these items before treatment. I've also dusted my car with DE and have washed all clothes and dried in high heat. I keep an outfit outside of my apartment to change into.

    After the dog came in we decided with our landlord that heat was the best option (though we are still doing research about this and are unsure of how it works) - we're waiting on a date from our landlord, all said it's been 4 weeks since it's started. Our landlord has dragged his feat, and even asked us to pay for some of the costs, which i've read in Maine Law and heard from several landlords is illegal. This has been a huge pain in the ass all around, and we're all very anxious to get rid of these little suckers.

    Currently, I'm researching the difference between thermapure and temp-air heat options, and also trying to come up with a set of questions that will help identify possible thermamateurs. Luckily I think we're still in the beginning of the infestation, so I'm hoping that being super diligent and quick to the heat-punch will get these bugs out.

    For all you "Main-ahs" - My roommates and I also checked out the legal statutes in maine regarding bugs - This is what we found:

    Maine Law

    § 14. 6. Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities for Bedbugs

    B. Landlord Responsibilities
    (5) Upon determination that the unit has bedbugs, the landlord shall within 10 days contact a pest control agent to effectively identify and treat any suspected bedbug infestation.
    (6) The landlord must employ a pest control agent that carries current insurance to promptly treat the bedbug infestation. The pest control agent will determine what the tenant must do to prepare the unit for the bedbug treatment.

    C. Tenant Remedies
    (1) The landlord‟s failure to comply with this new bedbug law is a violation of the tenant‟s warranty of habitability. This means the landlord has unreasonably failed under the circumstances to take prompt, effective steps to repair or remedy a condition that endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenant. See §14.5 in this chapter for a description of the tenant‟s remedies for a violation of the warranty of habitability.

    §14.5 Tenants Have a Right to a Livable Apartment
    If your landlord does not repair the unsafe or unhealthy condition within a reasonable time after the written notice, you should talk to an attorney about going to court. The judge may order that your rent be lowered, that you receive a partial rent rebate, or that your landlord fix the dwelling. Warning: the law states that you can sign away your right to complain about certain conditions. For example, if it is specifically stated in the written lease agreement, you can negotiate a lower rent in return for the landlord not supplying you with heat.22

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 18:01:00
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    Maine is interesting because it has a special disclosure law about bed bugs where landlords have to tell potential renters about bed bugs in this or adjacent units (which is rare but exists in a few places; NYC has a slightly different variation on a disclosure law).

    Not sure if this adds anything for you, but it may help others in Maine. (May also be relevant to your situation if you have not lived there long.) It also may help understand the specific rules about when landlords have to act and in what ways. And what to do if it doesn't solve the problem.

    Source: Maine Consumer Law Guide, Ch. 14, from the Maine.gov website (when you click that link, a PDF will download).

    § 14. 6. Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities for Bedbugs
    Bedbugs are becoming an increasing problem in public accommodations. A bedbug infestation can be so serious as to constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability (see §14.5). As of July 12, 201036, Maine law provides both landlords and tenants with specific rights and duties as to the threat of bedbugs.

    A. Tenant Responsibilities

    (1) A tenant must promptly notify a landlord when the tenant knows of or suspects an infestation of bedbugs in the tenant‟s apartment.

    (2) Upon receiving reasonable notice from the landlord37, the tenant must grant the landlord reasonable access in order to inspect for bedbugs.

    (3) The tenant must comply with the landlord‟s reasonable measures to eliminate and control a bedbug infestation. If the tenant unreasonably fails to do so, the landlord may commence a court action to require the tenant pay for all the pest control treatments of the unit arising from the tenant‟s failure to comply.

    B. Landlord Responsibilities

    (1) Before renting an apartment or other dwelling unit, the landlord shall disclose to a perspective tenant if an adjacent unit or units are currently infested with or being treated for bedbugs.

    (2) Upon request from a tenant or prospective tenant, the landlord must disclose the last date that the dwelling unit the landlord seeks to rent or an adjacent unit or units were inspected for a bedbug infestation and found to be free of a bedbug infestation.

    (3) A landlord may not offer for rent a dwelling unit that the landlord knows or suspects is infested with bedbugs.

    (4) Once the tenant informs the landlord that the dwelling unit may have a bedbug infestation, the landlord must within 5 days conduct an inspection of the unit for bedbugs.

    (5) Upon determination that the unit has bedbugs, the landlord shall within 10 days contact a pest control agent to effectively identify and treat any suspected bedbug infestation.

    (6) The landlord must employ a pest control agent that carries current insurance to promptly treat the bedbug infestation. The pest control agent will determine what the tenant must do to prepare the unit for the bedbug treatment.

    (7) If a tenant is unable to comply with a requested bedbug inspection or the measures necessary to treat the bedbugs, as outlined by the pest control agent (e.g., moving furniture, washing and drying clothes, providing mattress covers, etc.), then the landlord must offer reasonable assistance including financial assistance. The landlord must describe to the tenant what the cost may be for the tenant‟s compliance with the requested bedbug inspection or control measures. After making this disclosure the landlord can offer financial assistance to the tenant to help the tenants prepare the unit for bedbug treatment. If the tenant accepts the landlord‟s offer of financial help, the landlord may charge the tenant a reasonable amount for the assistance, subject to a reasonable repayment schedule, not to exceed six months.

    C. Tenant Remedies

    (1) The landlord‟s failure to comply with this new bedbug law is a violation of the tenant‟s warranty of habitability.39 This means the landlord has unreasonably failed under the circumstances to take prompt, effective steps to repair or remedy a condition that endangers or materially impairs the health or safety of the tenant. See §14.5 in this chapter for a description of the tenant‟s remedies for a violation of the warranty of habitability.

    (2) A landlord who fails to comply with these bedbug provisions is liable to the tenant for a penalty of $250 or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney‟s fees.

    (3) If a landlord goes to court and seeks to evict a tenant, there is a rebuttable presumption that the landlord‟s eviction action was commenced in illegal retaliation against a tenant if, within the six months before the landlord‟s eviction action, the tenant had asserted the tenant‟s statutory bedbug rights.

    D. Landlord Remedies

    (1) However, if the tenant fails to provide reasonable access to the unit or fails to comply with reasonable requests for treatment of bedbugs, the landlord can seek an expedited court order against the tenant:
    (a) Granting the landlord access to the premises for the purposes set forth in the bedbug law;
    (b) Granting the landlord the right to engage in bedbug control measures; and
    (c) Requiring the tenant to comply with specified bedbug control measures or assessing the tenant with costs and damages related to the tenant‟s noncompliance.

    (2) When seeking access to the unit the landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours notice.

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