How To Deal With Bed Bugs in Rental Properties

By Ashley Paskill on November 28, 2023

For tenants, whether new or existing, bed bugs are not something they want to deal with. They may come from furniture that someone else brought, but they can make their way to other places and spaces on the rental property within a short period. Not only are bed bugs a nuisance, they also pose a health risk for you and your tenants. This is why it is crucial to take care of them as soon as you are aware that there are bedbugs on your property.

Inform tenants and employees

When any kind of complaint or maintenance request comes in, it is crucial to handle it as soon as possible and do so effectively. This is especially true of bed bugs. Bed bugs can spread quickly, especially in apartment complexes that share community spaces. It is important to let property employees and other tenants know that there are bed bugs. However, avoid mentioning names so you do not embarrass other tenants. Keep communication open and allow questions to come in. Answer questions as quickly as possible.

Purchase new furniture

If you choose to furnish your rentals for your tenants, avoid buying used furniture. This will help reduce the risk of bed bugs since used furniture has a higher risk of having bed bugs than new furniture. It is next to impossible to know exactly where the furniture has been and the problems it had in the past. Things like mattresses and headboards for beds should be purchased new for your apartment. Advise your tenants to purchase new ones as well.

Your tenants may also rent furniture. Have them check to make sure they are renting from reputable companies who thoroughly clean their furniture. Have a list of companies you trust and have tenants rent from them. If you are unsure of how a furniture rental company cleans, see if you can find out. Avoid using companies who are unwilling to share how they clean their furniture.

If your tenants purchase their own furniture, advise them to buy new furniture, especially bedroom furniture. Have them avoid buying from places like Facebook Marketplace or yard sales. Give them tips for buying this type of furniture at thrift stores if you know exactly what to look for and what bedbug-infested furniture may look like.

Deep clean

As soon as you are aware of the issue, deep clean the apartment immediately. Have the tenants keep cleaning materials in their apartments and teach them how to properly clean their bedroom space so they do not invite bed bugs in. Have your tenants do an initial clean and come in after and do a bit of a deeper clean. Make sure your tenants know exactly what they need to use and how to handle the bedbug situation.

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Double-check

After you do your own deep cleaning, have someone come in to make sure the bed bug situation is fully resolved and cleared out. Have them do an inspection to help ensure that there are no more bed bugs left in the entire property. Check each space and apartment if you own multiple apartments in a complex. While you may do a check, having a second set of eyes come out to check can help you make sure you are in the clear.

Know what covers it

Even if you have landlord insurance and your tenants have renter’s insurance, these insurances likely do not cover expenses related to bed bug extermination. It is a tenant’s responsibility to keep their space clean, so if you can prove negligence on a tenant’s end, you may be able to use part or all of their security deposit. Sit down with the tenant to look over the wording of the lease and come up with an agreement to see what can be done to rectify the situation.

Identify the source

Look to see where the source of the bed bugs are. They may have come in on used furniture or even tenants who were traveling. The bed bugs may have even snuck in through holes near windows and doors. Once you know where the infestation is coming from, you can get right to the source and deal with the problem. It may be in one particular apartment or in several, but pinpointing the problem will help you and others deal with the situation.

Seek professional help

If you have never dealt with bed bugs or the situation is really widespread, you may want to call in professional exterminators before things get worse. It is crucial to deal with the situation as early as possible before the bed bugs spread too far throughout your rental properties. This is especially true if you and your tenants have been actively trying to deal with the situation but nothing seems to be working. It is better to get professional help than to have a temporary fix and have the issue come back time and time again.

Bed bugs are difficult and annoying, but dealing with them early on is crucial for getting rid of them altogether.

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