09 Feb Bed Bugs
Managing a San Diego rental property can come with its ups, and its downs. In fact, preventing bug infestations is only one of several issues a landlord must deal with. Although there are many types of bugs, bed bugs are a growing concern for San Diego rental property owners. What’s more, is that infestations occur regardless of how clean or dirty a rental unit is. From East County to Downtown San Diego, bed bugs do not discriminate. These blood sucking bed loving critters, have been hitchhiking their way through the San Diego County. So, why should you be concerned? On one hand, as a landlord, you have a legal obligation to maintain your rental property. On the other hand, to deal with bed bugs everyone must cooperate.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws…
Bed Bugs What You Need To Know
Bed bugs are small, brownish flat bugs that feed only on the blood of humans and animals. Although they are only the size of a ladybug, they can move quickly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Although it seems as though bed bugs have come out of nowhere, they are usually brought into the home on luggage, clothing, used beds and used furniture. Because of a high turnover rate, apartment buildings have a higher risk of encountering bed bugs. And, cleanliness is not always a factor. In fact, traveling to different areas of the world, such as parts of Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Central, and South America are often a common source for a bed bug encounter.
Looking For Signs Of Bed Bug Activity
Bed bugs tend to hide in places where humans tend to sleep such as, beds or couches. But their favorite place to hide is in mattresses, with this in mind, we offer some insight on looking for signs of bed bug activity.
- Dark spotting and staining on a mattress caused by their droppings
- There may be a sweetish order
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger
- Live bed bugs
Dealing With Bed Bugs
Any landlord for an apartment is likely to have to deal with bed bugs at some point. As a landlord, you must openly discuss bed bugs with tenants to educate them about prevention and to encourage immediate notification of a problem. Bed bugs are much easier to manage in the early stages of an infestation. Make sure your tenants notify you immediately if they suspect a bed bug infestation.
Not only must your tenants learn how to prevent and avoid infestations, they also need to do their part in the treatment process. Your pest control company must communicate effectively with all parties; inspect units above, below and on both sides of the affected apartment, as well as common areas of the building; and provide a thorough treatment with follow up.
To Deal With Bed Bugs, Everyone Must Cooperate…
AB 551 – The Law That Requires California Landlords to Disclose Bed Bug Information
Due to an upsurge in tenant filed “bed bug” litigation, the legislature responded. AB 551 addresses issues of bed bugs in rental housing. It also amends Civil Code §1942.5, and creates new Civil Code §1954.600-1954.605. Below we have listed some summarized points about the law.
- Educating Tenants –you must provide a written notice to the prospective tenant that includes, but is not limited to
- General information about bed bug identification
- Behavior and biology
- The importance of cooperation for prevention, treatment and prompt written reporting of suspected infestations
- The procedure to report suspected infestations to the landlord
- You Cannot Retaliate –landlords may not engage in any retaliatory conduct against a tenant who has notified the landlord of finding or reasonably suspecting a bed bug infestation on the property
- Must Reasonably Know –you cannot rent or lease, or offer to rent or lease, any vacant dwelling unit that has a current bed bug infestation
- Tenants Receive Inspection Findings –you must notify all tenants of units inspected by the pest control operator of the pest control operator’s findings
- Further requires the notification to be in writing and within two business days of receipt of the pest control operator’s findings, and requires the notice of any confirmed infestations to be posted common areas
Bed Bug Disclosure – Civil Code §1954.603
Specific bed bug notice must be given to new tenants on and after July 1, 2017 (with specific language listed under “Information about Bed Bug Laws” and in at least 10 point font). Additionally, it must also be given to existing tenants by January 1, 2018. To see an example of a bed bug disclosure, download our example by clicking here.
When In Doubt
If you have questions about how to comply with the law effectively or need help doing so, please contact us. We manage single-family homes, condos, and apartment buildings throughout the San Diego area. Whether you are interested in changing property managers, or simply looking to hire a property management company for the first time, Rancho Mesa Properties can help. We take care of all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multiplexes such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. Let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy your life! Call us today at (858) 576-2176. We will save you time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.