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When the landlord won't help

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  1. lagirl31

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 4 2012 13:51:21
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    Hi, everyone!

    I dealt with a really frustrating bedbug problem over a year ago and I'm so grateful for the help from these forums. I'm still always worried that we might get them again, but we're diligent in our new habits (passive monitors up, checked regularly, laundry done at least once a week, all pillows and bedding heat treated, regular self inspections) and so far, so good. I still think every bite I get is a sign of more bedbugs.

    We went out to lunch with my in laws over the weekend I saw a huge patch of bites on my MILs arm. My husband and I offered to inspect their bedroom and sure enough, we found bedbugs on the corner of their box spring. Three large adults, several babies, cast skins and fecal matter. I saved the bedbugs on a piece of packing tape. Based on bites, it seems like the problem has been going on for about three weeks. I'm not sure where they came from, and I've been stressing out that it might have been from us, but we haven't seen any bugs in over a year, and we're obsessive about packing to minimize the possibility of hitchhikers. I feel guilty anyways!

    They live in a very large apartment complex, and their particular building has four units with connecting walls.

    We took the bugs to the management and they told us that they'll send out a PCO and if it is determined to be bedbugs, that my inlaws will be responsible for paying for treatment "because the bugs weren't there when you moved in." I was shocked and I feel like we're being punished for trying to be responsible and communicative. I'm in Los Angeles and there was never a question of us paying. Apparently Orange County is different.

    My inlaws are already receiving housing assistance due to low income and disability. I'm hugely concerned that prepping is going to be nearly impossible for them because they live in a small space and have a lot of stuff to move around. I know they can't afford to pay for repeated treatments.

    How does it work in an apt if you pay for your own treatment? They haven't offered to inspect the surrounding apartments. If necessary, my husband and I will try to pay for the treatment and of course we'll help prep, but I hate to think that we're paying and then the problem doesn't go away because the other units aren't treated. Are we then going to be responsible for the other units, even if it's possible that one of them is already infested and might be the source?

    I just have no idea how to deal with this. I know people can't give legal advice on the forums, but if anyone has dealt with something similar, I'd really appreciate knowing how you handled it.

  2. lagirl31

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 6 2012 12:33:07
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    Okay, update! For a short summary of my very long post above - my in-law's have bedbugs, the management company at the apartment complex says they (my in-laws) are responsible for paying for treatment. There are four adjacent units and we have no idea if any of those are infested as well. Money is an issue. Prep is going to be an issue.

    I've spent a lot of time considering our options and I think I've decided on the best course of action.

    We will agree to pay for the treatment on our in-law's apartment (I'm not sure what we'll do since the place is so packed, maybe heat?) but ONLY if the management company agrees to a full inspection of all the connected units. Because I don't trust the inspection skills of their contracted PCO, we'll want a canine inspection from a reputable provider.

    I know there's a chance we'll pay for at least part of this inspection out of pocket, but it has to be better than throwing money down a black hole, which is what I think we're doing if we agree to treat one unit without knowing if other units are affected and not receiving treatment.

    This is such a strange gray area - the management company would pay for almost any other pest extermination, but they won't pay for bedbugs, even though there's no way to prove who brought them into the building or what the source was.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 6 2012 13:31:01
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    Did you verify what the laws in OC say about this?

    If not, I would do so. Landlords sometimes are unaware of the laws or misrepresent them because they think tenants won't know any better.

    Most times the laws relate to pests in rentals (generally). Many local housing laws say landlords pay, and some others say that tenants pay unless there is more than one affected unit. That may be the case here.

    Call a local tenants' organization or seek legal advice. At least three resources here may be able to advise you:

    http://tenantstogether.org/display.php?modin=50&custom2=76&custom6=Tenant+Counseling

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

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