ATTENTION RENTERS: WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT BED BUGS IN YOUR APARTMENT?
If you find these little biters in your apartment, lots of questions will begin to race through your mind. Where did they come from? How am I going to get rid of them? Are landlords responsible for treating bed bugs? Will they spread to other apartments? Can they hurt me? When your mind finally stops buzzing, you know your first step is to take action... But what should you do? You may be tempted to throw out every infested item in the place, but we would encourage you not to do that. Not only will that be a waste of your hard earned money when you have to replace all your stuff, but it can spread bed bugs to other places and to other people (especially that unsuspecting junk collector who thinks your trash is their treasure!). Getting rid of infested items won’t get rid of your bed bug problem either; not only will they infest your belongings, but they will infest your apartment too.
First things first - contact your landlord! They can help you determine what steps need to be taken to get rid of your bed bug problem. Between you and the landlord, a decision can be made regarding who is responsible to pay for the bed bug services. Once a bed bug removal service is scheduled, the pest control company will inform you of what steps need to be taken prior to the treatment to get your place ready for treatment. In the meantime, it is important for you to know that bed bugs do bite, which can leave itchy red welts on the skin. Try to avoid scratching these bites, because that can lead to a secondary infection. At this time, bed bugs are not known for spreading any diseases to humans.
Bed bugs in Pittsburgh apartments are a serious problem; these pests arrive on the backs of unsuspecting renters or visitors and make themselves at home in an apartment. They can spread throughout the apartment building quickly; their tiny bodies can slide through very small cracks and crevices, allowing them to travel from apartment to apartment in a short period of time. Contact your landlord at the first sign of a bed bug problem to make sure these pests are controlled quickly and to limit the problem for yourself and your neighbors.
Just a bit about the law…
In PA, tenants are protected by the Implied Warranty of Habitability, which guarantees “at a minimum… the premises must be safe and sanitary” (Pugh v. Holmes, 384 A.2d 1234 link: http://www.buteralaw.com/newsletters.asp?c=88&id=602). This protects renters from many situations, including lack of hot water, defective wiring, infestations of cockroaches, but not specifically bed bugs. Many people believe that bed bugs should fall under the same category as cockroaches, but this has not been specifically addressed by the appellate courts. It is a logical leap to expect that bed bugs would be the responsibility of a landlord, but there is nothing saying this is certain. Contacting your landlord at the first sign of bed bugs is the most responsible thing you can do as a renter; it alerts the management to a potential infestation and they can make the appropriate phone calls required to provide bed bug removal.