When it comes to bed bugs, almost everyone is confused on who is responsible for pest control treatment in rental properties. Is the landlord responsible? Is the tenant responsible? How did the bed bugs get into the property in the first place? Here are some things to know about bed bugs in Virginia.
Virginia law and Bed Begs
Virginia law does not have a specific clause about bed bugs. The law does not say if it is the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant when there is a bed bug problem. However, Virginia law is clear when it comes to landlord requirements pertaining to building and housing codes related to providing tenants with a safe, healthy, and habitual environment. If landlords do not make necessary repairs and upkeep to keep the property habitual, there is a concern related to tenant rights. Generally, landlords are responsible for eradicating bed bugs.
Tenant and Bed Bug Reporting
According to Virginia code §§55-248.16 and 55-225.4, tenants need to do three things when reporting bed bugs:
- Comply with applicable provisions of building and housing codes related to health and safety
- Keep the unit free from insects and pests
- Notify landlords of insect and pest problems
Since this is confusing, many tenants are not sure what to do with bed bugs. Under Virginia law it states, “the tenant shall be financially responsible for the added cost of treatment or extermination due to the tenant’s unreasonable delay in reporting the existence of any insects or pests and be financially responsible for the cost of treatment or extermination due to the tenant’s fault in failing to prevent infestation of any insects or pests in the area occupied.”
If it is found that the tenant has been negligent in reporting information about bed bugs, or they brought them into the unit, there could be financial responsibility on the tenant’s part. Landlords cannot bill tenants for the cost of the entire treatment unless they meet those two situations.
Landlords that do bill for the cost of treatment need to be clear as to why the tenant must pay for some of the cost of treatment due to fact that it was found they brought the bed bugs into the unit. Tenants that feel they do not deserve to pay for the treatment need to write a letter to the landlord stating why they will not pay for the treatment, and any findings about the bed bugs not being their responsibility.
Property Management Company Landlords can be placed in difficult situations with tenants, especially when it comes to pest control issues. Hiring a property management company is the best method to prevent and avoid serious tenant issues. Richmond Keyrenter Property Management provides safe, habitual environments for tenants. If you need assistance handling bed bugs and tenant concerns, contact our office today.