Are Landlords Responsible for Bed Bugs?

Last Updated: September 8, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

Landlords almost always are responsible for exterminating bed bugs. Infestations are a serious health issue. Landlords must normally pay to exterminate infestations the tenant didn’t cause, and also those which affect more than one residence.

States With Specific Bed Bug Laws

A few states have specific statutes and processes for bed bugs. The laws are not limited to treating infestations. They can include things like special disclosure requirements or instructions on cost sharing for treatments.

State Standard(s)
Arizona Landlords must provide “bedbug educational materials” to tenants. They cannot rent a unit known to have a current infestation. Tenants must keep from moving personal materials into an infested place.
California “A landlord shall not show, rent, or lease to a prospective tenant any vacant dwelling unit that the landlord knows has a current bed bug infestation.”
Colorado Landlords must begin treatment of bed bugs, within 96 hours of receiving notice. There are specific requirements for treatment, costs, and other related topics.
Connecticut Detailed notification and treatment process for bed bug infestation. Landlords must inspect within five days of notice about a potential infestation.
Delaware Extensive requirements for suspected bed bug infestation. Landlords pay for treatment within 60 days of move-in or within 30 days of discovering another infestation in an adjoining unit. There’s otherwise a presumption that the tenant is at fault.
Florida Landlords must treat “rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs.” They can’t charge rent while a tenant is out of a unit for pest treatment.
Maine Extensive requirements and process for suspected bed bug infestations. Landlords must inspect within five days of notice. Upon finding an infestation, they must contact pest control within ten days thereafter.
New Hampshire Landlords cannot rent a bed bug-infested property unless they are in a qualified remediation program. The landlord pays all costs, but can later bill the tenant for infestation that was the tenant’s fault.

States Without Specific Bed Bug Laws

Most states don’t have specific bed bug laws. They address bed bug problems through general health and safety laws.

Bed bugs seriously impact tenant quality of life, and spread easily to other homes. Landlords must nearly always address bed bug issues as soon as possible.

Consequences for Failure To Treat Bed Bugs

Landlord failure to address a bed bug infestation is a serious housing violation. State laws vary widely, but if a landlord doesn’t provide extermination services after proper notice from the tenant, the following remedies are often available:

It’s often also legal for a tenant to contract for repairs and deduct from the rent. However, the deductible amount often is too low to cover all costs of extermination, cleaning, and so on.