is a tenant responsible for exterminating an apartment for bed bugs?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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is a tenant responsible for exterminating an apartment for bed bugs?

i live in Wilmington DE. i have resided in an apt complex for almost 15 yrs. In
the last 5 yrs, i have seen bed bugs come and go in my unit as well as other
units and the whole bldg was treated for both roaches and bed bugs at that
time. Since then, i have seen signs of them bed bugs, NOT roaches which i
have treated myself and it seemed to work. Recently, i have seen them again
and reported them. I received a letter from the rental office that I am
responsible for the treatment which is 400.00!!! It went on to say more or less
that since we brought them in, we are responsible. I know that there were
other tenants that have had them and since moved out. The letter also states
that I would be responsible for treating other units if they get them!!! Is this
legal? what do i do…what do i say to them? and..if i do pay what they want,
they will simply spread to other units which they threaten to charge me with
treatments needed…shouldn’t the whole bldg be treated? How could i have
brought this problem in when i moved in here almost 15 yrs ago?

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Delaware


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The laws governing who is financially responsibile for the extermination of bed bugs varies from state to state. However, many states are placing the responsibility for bed bug treatments on landlords. This is because landlords are in a position to most effectively treat all areas in a rental premises, including common spaces, so they are expected to bear the cost of treating the problem. This is especially so since the bugs can move throughout the whole building. Further, courts are finding more and more that bed bugs are a serious problem affecting the well-being of tenants, so landlords have an obligation to provide bed bug treatments as a part of their duty to keep their property safe for tenants.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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