Bed Bug Addendum

Last Updated: October 17, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

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A Bed Bug Addendum is a contract incorporated into a Lease Agreement that sets responsibilities for preventing, reporting, and treating a bed bug infestation. It also confirms the landlord has inspected the rental property for bed bugs before move-in.

Why Use a Bed Bug Addendum?

Bed Bug Addendums are useful because they:

  • Enact a Plan To Reduce the Chance of Infestation – A Bed Bug Addendum can mandate certain precautions and preventative maintenance to reduce the odds of infestation and increase the accuracy of reporting.
  • Specifies Responsibility and Liability – Bed bug treatment usually costs thousands of dollars. An addendum specifies the tenant’s  responsibility and liability for damages if their misconduct or negligence contributes to a bed bug infestation. An addendum can also specify the landlord’s right to use a security deposit when covering damages from bed bugs.
  • Protect Tenant Health – A clear plan for the prevention and treatment of bed bugs helps keep tenants safe in the event of any issue.
  • Reassure the Tenant – An addendum usually specifies the property is inspected for bed bugs and establishes a treatment policy in the event of any potential infestation.
  • Avoid Future Costs – A Bed Bug Addendum helps avoid unnecessary costs by ensuring any problems are addressed in a prompt and transparent way that is clear and requires no litigation.

Important Terms To Include in a Bed Bug Addendum

While a Bed Bug Addendum is often a standardized form with set clauses, a landlord and tenant can agree to any set of standards as long as they cover the most important terms. These are:

  • Tenant Duty of Care – Specifies the tenant’s responsibility to exercise reasonable care keeping property clean and free of clutter or other conditions which might enable infestation.
  • Tenant Duty To Report – Clarifies that the tenant is responsible for noticing any signs of a bed bug infestation, and establishes a duty to report issues immediately to the landlord.
  • Duties of Treatment – Allocates responsibility for treating a bed bug infestation. It’s common to require the landlord to handle the details of treatment, even if the tenant gets billed afterward for costs.
  • Indemnification – Makes the tenant responsible for costs that result from a bed bug infestation, including related lawsuits. (Depending on the state warranty of habitability, sometimes the landlord can only make the tenant pay for infestation caused by the tenant’s own deliberate or negligent misconduct, or infestation limited to a single unit.)
  • Violations – A clause about violations usually specifies that breaking the terms of the Bed Bug Addendum is equivalent to violating the lease.

    Preventing Bed Bugs

    Beyond providing a thorough Bed Bug Addendum, a landlord can take certain additional steps to help prevent bed bug infestations.

    • Periodic Landlord Inspections – Periodic inspections let a landlord monitor for signs of infestation. Landlords can also conduct a Move Out Inspection before cleaning the property. This can reveal the presence of bed bugs which later cleaning might temporarily conceal.
    • Provide Tenants With Bed Bug Instructions – In addition to a Bed Bug Addendum, a landlord can provide tenants with specific instructions on handling bed bugs. This might include cleaning tips as well as treatment for items that have already been infested. Such instructions often also include basic information about bed bugs along with pictures to help identify signs of infestation.