Oct 8, 2014

Bedbugs: Who is Responsible?

                In the world of rental properties, “bedbugs” is a dirty word and a landlord’s worst nightmare. Aside from the physical difficulties bedbugs pose, there are legal ramifications to deal with if one doesn’t take the necessary precautions. Therefore, every landlord should know his/her responsibilities regarding bedbugs.

                A.R.S. § 33-1319  states in part, landlords should be providing each tenant with “bedbug educational material” prior to their tenant moving in. This should material should cover, without limitation, preventative measures, behaviors that increase the risk of bedbugs, and a description of the appearance of bedbugs. Also, a landlord should not move a tenant into a house if he knows that house has a current infestation.

                On the other hand, a tenant is responsible for notifying a landlord in writing as soon as he or she becomes aware of the presence of bedbugs. A tenant should not move materials already infested with bedbugs into his house or apartment.

                Let’s say there are no bedbugs when a tenant moves in, but three months later there is an infestation. Who is responsible to pay for all the fees associated with getting rid of them? Almost always the answer is: the tenant.

               Following the above guidelines may protect you as a landlord from a lawsuit in the unfortunate event that your property contracts a bedbug infestation. If you have more questions about how to protect yourself as a landlord, call (480)246-8033 to set up a free consultation with an attorney.