| Read Time: 4 minutes | Slum Housing

Has your landlord neglected your living space, leading to a bedbug problem? Contact the attorneys at Riley | Ersoff today for a free consultation.

The thought of bedbugs can make your skin crawl. Many different stories have been in the news about people who go to movie theaters or hotels and come home with these tiny critters that make you itch madly. Those stories might lead to your avoiding the areas where bedbugs could live.

But, have you thought about what you would do if you found out that you have bedbugs at home? This is a disheartening and difficult situation to live with. Here are some points that you need to know about bedbugs and renters:

How bedbugs are a problem for renters

Bedbugs are a problem for some renters, especially those who live in multifamily units. These tiny bugs don’t fly. Instead, they crawl, even up walls, to get to where they need to go. People living in apartments or rental units sometimes experience bedbug problems when bedbugs travel from one unit in the building to another.

It is often difficult to spot bedbugs when an infestation first begins because they are so tiny. The female bedbug can lay thousands of eggs, but each of these is only around the size of a speck of dirt.

Another issue with bedbugs is that they can fit into tiny spaces. An entire colony of bugs can live in an area that is the equivalent of the thinness of a credit card. They can live in clothing, on mattresses, in cracks and on furniture.

Bedbugs rely on blood to survive. They need to have a meal prior to each time they shed during their life. Many people think that bedbugs are a sign of an unclean home but this isn’t the case. They don’t have anything to do with cleanliness. You can have a spotless home and still have a bedbug problem.

The good news is that bedbugs don’t transmit disease. They are more of a nuisance because of the severe itching they cause

 and any subsequent loss of sleep the itching promotes. Rarely, itching can also lead to extreme scratching that can potentially cause a secondary skin infection.

Who Is at Most Risk for Getting Bed Bugs?

Anyone can get bed bugs. Moreover, as noted, bedbug infestations have nothing to do with housekeeping and hygiene. People get bed bugs when they bring them home. For example, people who travel often or share living and sleeping quarters where others have slept, like a motel, have a higher risk of spreading a bed bug infestation. Common places to pick up bed bugs include:

  • Hospitals and nursing homes;
  • Hotels, motels, and cruise ships;
  • Buses and trains;
  • Shelters;
  • Apartment buildings and condominiums; and
  • Dormitories.

Bed bugs have also been known to travel in secondhand mattresses or used furniture brought into the home. Unfortunately, a bed bug lives from 6 to 24 months and can survive for 12 months or longer without feeding, which means everyone can bring bed bugs home after encountering an infected area. In fact, most people are unaware that they are transporting bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting each as they go.

Signs and Symptoms of a Bed Bug Infestation

You may have bedbugs if you experience tiny, itchy bites on your arms, legs, or shoulders. This is especially true if you find a few bites grouped together, as bedbugs habitually leave bite clusters rather than a few scattered marks here and there. However, because bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects, such as mosquitoes, or look like rashes or even hives, they can also be a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Plus, some people do not react to bed bug bites at all. Whether you have obvious marks on your skin or not, other signs of a bedbug infestation can include the following:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by crushed bed bugs;
  • Dark spots about the size of a period, caused by bed bug excrement;
  • Tiny appleseed sized eggs and eggshells;
  • Pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger;
  • A sweet, musty odor around your bed; and
  • Finding live bedbugs.

Bed bugs also hide in a variety of places. Closer to the bed, you can often find them hiding near the piping, mattress seams and tags, box springs, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. In cases of heavy bed bug infestation, bed bugs may also hide in the following places:

  • Drawer joints,
  • Chair and couch seams and between cushions,
  • Curtain folds,
  • Electrical receptacles and appliances,
  • Junctions where the wall and the ceiling meet, and
  • Under loose wallpaper and wall hangings. 

Since bed bugs are only about the width of a credit card, their size allows them to pack into many types of small hiding spots. Essentially, if you can slip a credit card into the space, it could be hiding a bed bug.

Where Landlords Come In

Landlords need to have proper pest control methods in place. It isn’t always possible to prevent bedbugs because they often come into a home attached to something else.

When a landlord is given notice that there is a bedbug infestation in a dwelling, he or she will need to take swift action to find a pest control solution to minimize the risk of the bugs entering other spaces and to eradicate them from the locations where they are present.

Many different ways of controlling bedbugs are found online. Some of these, such as do-it-yourself remedies, aren’t likely going to work in a multifamily dwelling. Landlords should hire a professional company that can come in and get the problem taken care of so that bedbugs don’t make life miserable for the renters.

Have a Bedbug Problem in Your Rental Space? Contact an Attorney

If your landlord has failed to remove bedbugs from your rental space and has neglected your housing, it’s time to contact the attorneys at Riley | Ersoff LLP.

Author Photo

Grant Riley

Grant Riley is a sophisticated, proactive, and aggressive attorney with 35 years of in-the-trenches experience litigating complex, big-money disputes. Grant is every landlord’s worst nightmare. He has prosecuted hundreds of slum housing, lead poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning cases and other complex personal injury cases against greedy slumlords and their insurers. Grant, his partner Victoria Ersoff, and his team of lawyers at Riley | Ersoff LLP are responsible for collecting more than $100,000,000 on behalf of hundreds of low income, immigrant, inner-city tenants and others who had no other options and nowhere else to go. If you’ve been harmed, injured, abused or ignored by a landlord, a greedy corporation, or their insurance company, call us. We’ve got the smarts, the experience, and the drive to help you get exactly what you deserve – justice.

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