Bed Bug Addendum

Last Updated: January 23, 2023 by Robert Bailey

A Bed Bug Addendum is a legal contract incorporated into a Lease Agreement that requires the tenant to comply with certain responsibilities for preventing and reporting a bed bug infestation. It also confirms that the landlord has inspected the rental property for bed bugs before the tenant’s move-in date.

Why Use a Bed Bug Addendum?

A Bed Bug infestation is a serious problem for a landlord, tenant, and even neighbors. Here are some specific reasons why landlords should take bed bugs seriously and always include a detailed bed bug addendum when entering a new lease:

  • Reduces the Chance of Infestation – A bed bug infestation can cause anything from destroyed personal property to widespread infestation across several rental property units. This addendum can require the tenant to take certain precautions and preventative maintenance. Requiring certain preventive and proactive measures can help reduce the chance of a tenant having a bed bug infestation.
  • Specifies Responsibility and Liability – Bed bugs can be expensive. As a result, landlords must address expectations and who will be at fault for any potential infestation. Having an addendum places the responsibility and liability for damages or lawsuits with the tenant if they were the cause of a bed bug infestation. A landlord can use a tenant’s security deposit to pay for any damages from bed bugs.
  • Reassures the Tenant – The addendum can also reassure the tenant that the landlord was thorough in inspecting and making sure there were no bed bugs present before leasing the property to the tenant. It also reassures the tenant that there is a policy in place to take care of any potential infestation.

Landlords need to remember that they have a responsibility to prevent and take care of bed bug infestations as well. Most states have laws that require landlords to provide tenants with a safe and livable home (known as the implied warranty of habitability).

If the landlord’s neglect causes an infestation or they fail to properly take care of an infestation, a landlord may violate state law. Depending on the state, a tenant may be able to:

  • Withhold their rent
  • Pay to remove the infestation and deduct the cost from their rent
  • Terminate the lease
  • Sue the landlord

What to Include in a Bed Bug Addendum

A Bed Bug Addendum does not stand on its own. Rather, it becomes a part of and is incorporated into a lease agreement. This addendum should only address the topic of bed bugs and include the following:

  1. Type of Addendum – The heading and opening should state that this is a Bed Bug Addendum
  2. The date the addendum is being signed and goes into effect
  3. Landlord’s name
  4. Landlord’s business address
  5. Tenant’s name
  6. Tenant’s rental property address
  7. Date of the original lease agreement
  8. Introductory information about the addendum and the original lease agreement it is incorporating
  9. Landlord Affirmation – This section will confirm that the landlord inspected the rental property and that they did not find any bed bugs
  10. Tenant Affirmation – This section is an acknowledgment by the tenant that they will inspect any items moved onto the rental property for bed bugs and will comply with all of the requirements of the addendum
  11. Inspection – The tenant agrees to continually inspect their items and the rental property for bed bugs. This is specifically required if the tenant visits or stays at certain locations which may increase the chances of having bed bugs
  12. Tenant’s Duty to Report – In this section, the tenant agrees to immediately notify the landlord if they find bed bugs
  13. Landlord Access – In this section, the tenant agrees to allow access to the landlord and a professional pest management company if bed bugs are discovered
  14. Cooperation – This section requires the tenant to cooperate with all requirements for getting rid of bed bugs. This could include temporary evacuation and certain post-treatment requirements to help prevent re-infestation
  15. Prohibition – This section includes specific prohibitions for the tenant to minimize the chance of a bed bug infestation
  16. Renter’s Insurance – The tenant is notified in this section that the landlord is not responsible for any loss of personal property due to a bed bug infestation. The tenant is instructed to make sure they have the appropriate renter’s insurance to cover any loss or damage to personal property as the result of a bed bug infestation
  17. Violations – This section notes that a violation of this addendum is a violation of the entire lease agreement. That means that, if there is violation of this addendum, the landlord can take any actions authorized in the lease agreement for violations
  18. Indemnification – For this clause, the tenant explicitly agrees to be responsible for any costs or damages, including any potential lawsuits, that result from a bed bug infestation.
  19. Governing Law – The law governing the lease agreement will also apply to this addendum
  20. Landlord’s signature and date
  21. Tenant’s signature and date

This addendum may need to be modified depending on specific situations for your rental property and any specific state or local laws. Landlords need to ensure that this addendum and any actions they take regarding bed bugs are in full compliance with these laws.

Just like with the original lease agreement, both parties should have a signed copy of this addendum. The addendum is now part of the lease agreement and should be kept with it. If a tenant refuses to sign a Bed Bug Addendum with the original lease agreement a landlord can deny renting to them.

Tips to Help Prevent Bed Bugs

Beyond providing a thorough addendum, a landlord can take certain additional steps to help prevent bed bug infestations. This can include:

  • Periodic Landlord Inspections – By conducting periodic inspections, the landlord can monitor the state of the property. Specifically, the landlord can use this inspection to ensure there is not an infestation of bed bugs. This should also be conducted during the Move Out Inspection before the landlord cleans the property. This is important as sometimes the cleaning conducted after a tenant moves out may hide the presence of bed bugs.
  • Provide Tenants with Bed Bug Instructions – In addition to the addendum, a landlord can provide tenants with specific instructions on handling bed bugs. This can include cleaning tips to prevent bed bugs as well as what to do with certain items that have already been infested. These instructions should also include pictures to help identify bed bugs, signs of infestation, and basic information about bed bugs.