Bedbugs are a horrible nuisance which, unfortunately, could happen to anyone. Just one overnight stay at an infested hotel could have thousands of those nasty critters hitching a ride home in your suitcase and settling in as new residents of your apartment or rental property. So whose problem is a bedbug infestation, anyway? Is your landlord on the hook for getting rid of them, or are you? More importantly, will you renters insurance pay for it? Let’s take a look.
First and foremost, you’ll need to notify your landlord as soon as you determine you’ve got a problem with bedbugs. In most cases, experienced landlords have access to resources, such as qualified exterminators, so you might not have to do any legwork in that respect. Your apartment will need to be thoroughly inspected to identify the main source of the bedbugs as well as assess the severity of the infestation. Be prepared to have an inspector look into every nook and cranny of your apartment.
The inspection process is also important to determine whether the bedbugs were introduced by the tenant or whether they came from another source, such as an adjoining unit in the building. This information is used to assess liability in terms of all the costs associated with exterminating the problem. Other costs incurred from bedbug infestations may include relocation, property damage and cleaning expenses.
So, who is on the hook for the bill once everything is said and done? Well, the answer to that question ultimately depends on whose fault the infestation is. This isn’t always easy to determine, especially if there are many other units in one building. Without clear proof that the bedbugs came as a result of something the tenant did, the landlord is typically responsible to pay for the extermination and any other associated costs.
For situations that are more cut and dry, such as when there is only one tenant present in a single rental unit, such as a condo or rental home. In these instances, it is reasonable to assume that – barring any history of bedbug infestations at that property – the problem arose as a result of something the tenant did. This could be as innocent as purchasing used furniture that is already infested. If this is the case, you would be responsible to cover your own costs.
The good news is, if you have renters insurance, some of your expenses may be covered. Most policies won’t cover the costs associated with the actual infestation, such as hiring a professional to get the problem eradicated. Any belongings that have to be discarded, however, as well as moving expenses might be reimbursable, depending on your coverage. If you’ve identified a bedbug issue in your rental property and you are unable to place the onus on your landlord, contact your insurance company representative to find out whether any of your expenses are covered.