Moving into a new home is an exciting time for any individual. It can represent an upgrade, a new beginning and even a fresh start. Imagine though, if after you are all moved in, the furniture arranged, items taken out of their boxes, one morning you wake to bug bite welts all over your body. You might panic and ask yourself these questions: Where did this all come from? What kind of bug am I dealing with? What do I do? Well, a possible answer to the second question may be bedbugs.
Bedbugs are small, rust colored parasites that feed on the blood of sleeping humans and animals. They feed on the blood of their prey and their bites develop slowly to low itchy welts that can take up to weeks to go away. California law requires that landlords maintain a habitable home and must disclose to prospective tenants if the unit has been invested with bedbugs in the previous two years. Negligence of not disclosing this information, not properly dealing with previous instances of bedbug infestations, or a failure to respond to a tenant’s report of bedbugs can imply negligence on the part of a landlord. A bug infestation also renders the property uninhabitable.
Reports in San Francisco show that in the past 5 years, there has been a dramatic increase in bedbug infestations. In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are now requiring exterminators report the number of units they treat for bedbugs every month to the Department of Public Health. A program manager at the department’s Environmental Health Section, Karen Cohn, cited the reason for this new procedure as the importance of “be[ing] able to target your resources” in fighting and controlling this growing problem. The health department received only 370 complaints of bedbugs in 2010, with 152 of these complaints being confirmed, but this provides neither a full nor accurate picture of the problem as most people attempt to resolve their cases of bedbugs themselves.
Bedbugs are difficult to get rid of. Multiple treatments are required and at times, can still persist even with a thorough treatment because of bedbugs’ ability to remain dormant for long periods of time after feeding. Most treatments require the experienced skills of a professional exterminator and can be costly dependent on how many rooms are infested. Costs of a bedbug problem also include:
• Medical bills • New clothing • New furniture (specifically mattresses, couches, and fabric based furniture)
• Household items • Home inspections • Temporary lodging
Our experienced San Francisco based landlord-tenant attorney is ready and able to help you receive compensation. Landlords have a responsibility to their tenants to maintain property to be habitable. If you are renting an apartment, home, or staying in a hotel or motel, you have every right to dwell in a bedbug free environment. Not all cases of bedbugs can be avoided but if you believe your landlord or hotel knew of the problem and failed to properly address and remedy the problem, leading to your bedbug experience, you may be justified in seeking compensation. Call our office today for a free consultation.