The Landlord’s Lament: Bed Bugs in Apartments

bed bugIt’s a call no landlord ever wants to receive — one of your tenants suspects they have bedbugs. These insidious pests can spread quickly and be difficult to get rid of, which can be a frustrating combination in multi-family rental units. Below, we cover how you can work with a pest control company and your tenants to take care of a bed bug problem as quickly as possible.

Before the Bugs…

Good pest control policies always start well before an infestation is ever noted. Before a new tenant moves in, the apartment should be inspected for any signs of bed bugs, and the tenant should sign a document acknowledging that the apartment is bed bug-free upon move-in. Included in this document should also be a clause that, upon discovery of a bed bug infestation, tenants are required to allow their apartment to undergo any treatments deemed necessary by pest management or their lease may be terminated. Some property managers also choose to require all incoming mattresses to be inspected as tenants are moving in.

Another step that can make bed bug control easier is to train employees in how to spot the signs of bed bugs — namely, posting images of the small pests in employee areas and training them on how to spot droppings and where they are most often seen. This training, however, is no replacement for an ongoing relationship with a pest control company that knows to be on the lookout for bed bugs.

After the Report…

The first thing you need to keep in mind when a bed bug report comes in is that retaliating against the tenant who reports the problem — whether by terminating their lease or holding them financially liable for the treatment — is counterintuitive, as they may not have been the origin of the infestation. Retaliation can also make others less likely to report problems in the future, leading to a much more widespread (and expensive) problem before you ever find out about it.

As soon as bed bug report is filed, you should call your pest control company to schedule an inspection. Your pest control professional will inspect the apartment where the report was filed as well as any adjacent apartments to see how far the problem has spread. From that point, a plan of action can be drawn up and implemented.

Keep Records…

It is important to keep records of each step of this process, including receipts from the pest control company, a copy of the plan of action, and dates as each step of the plan is completed. These records can help protect you from any future litigation that, though rare, can sometimes come from disgruntled residents.

Keep your tenants informed every step of the way. They should know when to expect the next step in treatment, how to look for bed bugs in their apartment, and when you expect the problem to be resolved by. This open communication makes it more likely that your tenants will cooperate fully with the eradication of the infestation, and ensures they will not hesitate to contact you if they see any signs of the pests in the future.


Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

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