Who is responsible for the expense of bedbug extermination and related costs?

UPDATED: Dec 27, 2011

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Who is responsible for the expense of bedbug extermination and related costs?

I have a next door neighbor that has bedbugs. Somehow they have spilled over into my townhouse. We both rent from a realtor but the properties are owned by 2 different people. The realtor expressed that the next door neighbor is responsible for paying for the extermination but I have to pay to have everything in my house cleaned and washed and, possibly, have to purchase a new mattress. I was given a week to complete this so the process can start. I have no help to get this done and one closet of clothing just cost over $50 at a local laundry. Should the realtor share in the cost or is my neighbor responsible?

Asked on December 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you are a tenant--i.e. you rent, not own--then generally your landlord and/or the landlord's managing agent is responsible for pest control, extermination, etc. unless it can be shown that you caused or substantially contributed to the infestation in some way. In this case, it would seem that the realtor or home's owner (how they split the costs between them is not issue), as the one you rent from, should arrange for the cleaning and extermination--though they might not be responsible for buying a new mattress, since my understanding is that is not strictly required.

If the neighbor caused the bedbugs in some way, you--and the realtor--may be able recover costs (e.g. you might be able to get the cost of the mattress; the realtor could recover extermination costs) from that neighbor. You would have to sue to do this.

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