Can You Sue Your Landlord for Bed Bugs?
In some cases victims can get compensation for losses related to bed bugs with a premises liability claim
According to a press release from Orkin, one of the country’s major pest control companies, Los Angeles has a bigger bed bug problem than New York City. Based on services provided in 2014, the company reports that Los Angeles is the fourth worst city for bed bugs. Only Chicago, Detroit, and Columbus are worse.
Bed bugs are a growing problem across the country. Consumer spending on bed bug treatment services increased dramatically from $70 million in 2004 to $446 million in 2013. And Orkin reported that their bed bug business increased 18 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Bed bugs are very opportunistic pests that can travel easily in clothing, luggage, and furniture from one part of the country to another. They are notoriously hard to eradicate, and often the most effective means of ending an infestation is destroying all possible materials the bed bugs could live in.
Due to the totally false but persistent stigma that having bed bugs means you are some sort of disgusting person, no one wants to take responsibility for an infestation. This has many looking for places to point the finger.
Often, the blame ends up being placed on property owners like hotel owners and landlords. This is usually unfair because there is really no way for a property owner to prevent someone from bringing bed bugs into the building or know immediately that bed bugs are present. However, there are certain rare situations where it might be possible to bring a premises liability claim against a landlord for a bed bug infestation.
How to Make Your Landlord Pay for Your Bed Bug Expenses
Bed bug bites typically do not cause any physical injury, but they can cause a lot of emotional distress, especially if the bites are on areas of the body that are easily visible to others. Being associated with bed bugs can also be humiliating, both personally and professionally. However, the biggest expenses that a bed bug infestation will bring include the cost of pest services, the cost of cleaning or replacement of furnishings and personal items, and, potentially, costs associated with relocation from the property.
In order to hold a property owner liable for any of these costs, you must prove that:
- The property owner knew there was a bed bug infestation yet did nothing to warn of or correct the problem
- Or, the property owner should have known there was a risk of infestation yet was negligent in inspecting their property for bed bugs at reasonable intervals
One possible example might be if a “slum lord” landlord received repeated complaints about bed bugs yet did nothing about the problem. This could be considered negligence and could form the basis for a premises liability claim.
Need More Information?
If you have questions about making any type of premises liability claim, experienced attorney Fernando D. Vargas is here to help. Contact our office at 909-982-0707 to set up a free case evaluation.