Protect Your Rentals against Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small brownish insects that feed on the blood of animals or humans. Their flat bodies are the size of an apple seed and they swell after feeding. While bed bugs do not fly, they can travel fast and can lay hundreds of dust size eggs. They can be a real nuisance to any landlord as they are extremely hard to completely remove from an apartment or house.

Bedbugs can enter your rental property in several ways, including through clothing, luggage, couches and other items. They are more active at night and while it is generally believed that they do not transmit diseases there has been some evidence they may carry bacteria. Signs of a bedbug infestation in one of your rental units may include blood stains on sheets and pillowcases, dark or rusty spots on sheets and walls, and an offensive musty odor.

Bedbugs pose a serious risk to a landlord’s property. A widespread infestation can qualify as a habitability problem which in most states allows tenants to break their lease without any repercussions. In addition, it is suggested that if a tenant contracts a bacterial infection as a result of bedbugs that a landlord failed to remove, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord for damages. Therefore, as a landlord you need to take the appropriate steps needed to prevent the likelihood of a bed bug infestation on your property.

  • Recommend that tenants encase their mattresses, box spring and pillows in bed bug resistant covers. These steps can prevent bed bugs from making a home in these preferred locations and consequently preventing them from creating a foothold on your property.

  • Educate your tenants about the signs of bedbugs so they inform you right away of any issue. Most tenants may not even know what a bed bug looks like and may not realize how serious a bedbug problem may become. If your tenants know what to look for they can inform you of the issue right away saving you money in the long run.

  • Tell tenants they should not pick up furniture off the street or from a common area. Tenants can end up bringing bed bugs and other pest right into your rental when they take furniture off the street.

  • Make sure common areas are not cluttered and dirty. Keeping your rental clean can limit the places for bed bugs to live and can enable you or your tenants to notice bed bugs right away before the problem gets worse.

If a tenant does inform you of a bedbug problem it is important that you deal with the issue right away. Bed begs can transfer between apartments so getting the infestation cleared as soon as possible can prevent them from spreading throughout your rental units. If you do have a bed bug infestation problem make sure you document the issue and all expenses in your property management system. There are insurance plans that will cover losses and expenditures related to bed bug infestations. Do not wait until a bed bug infestation before you look into whether you need to take further action to protect your property and your bottom line from bed bugs. This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information. Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.