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    zmacllc's Avatar
    zmacllc Posts: 9, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 15, 2015, 10:33 AM
    Bedbugs in Single Family rental. Who's responsible?
    Can anyone provide any information or clarity on the law as it relates to how bedbug remediation should be handled in Single Family homes rented in Baltimore City? Quick scenario:

    Previous tenant moved out on April 15th. While home was vacant it was thoroughly cleaned, new carpet was installed and paint was done done throughout the entire home.

    New tenant moves in June 1. On September 12th tenant notifies landlord of have bedbugs. An inspection by a certified technician determines there is a light infestation. Cost to abate problem is $1,000. Technician states that based on his experience, training and expertise, it's more likely than not that the tenants caused the infestation or brought it into the home.

    I found under Maryland Tenant Law the following:

    Public Safety. Title 12. Building and Material Codes; Other Safety Provisions. Subtitle 2. Statewide Building and Housing Codes
    12-203. Minimum Livability Code.
    Section 11. D(2) Single Occupancy. The tenant of a structure containing a single housing unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests in the structure or the premises.

    Would this be sufficient reasoning to indicate the landlord isn't responsible for the extermination of bed bugs? Any help would certainly be appreciated.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Sep 15, 2015, 12:29 PM
    In my opinion yes. I'm guessing that the home was not rented with furniture. If it was, you might have a problem if the new tenant brought their own furniture, then the landlord appears to be off the hook.
    ma0641's Avatar
    ma0641 Posts: 15,679, Reputation: 1012
    Uber Member

    Sep 15, 2015, 01:26 PM
    This must have been written by a group of landlords! Are you sure this pertains to rentals? IF I were a tenant, I would certainly argue against termites, squirrels or raccoons in the attic, all of which are supposedly covered here.
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
    Pest Control Expert

    Sep 15, 2015, 01:49 PM
    Unless the lease provides for extermination, most states will hold the tenant liable for parasites such as bedbugs or lice while often landlords are responsible for pests such as rodents or cockroaches. Single family homes (as indicated in the quote) are also very different from apartments.

    Court cases found on internet searches have gone both ways in Maryland. The one point that seems to be paramount is the speed of response.

    If you are the landlord, consider negotiating the cost with your tenant.

    Again, bedbugs breed so fast something needs to be done this week. They can get to uncontrollable before Christmas.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Sep 15, 2015, 11:38 PM
    What does your rental agreement say?

    As a norm, landlords will do a regular pest service, like a monthly spraying.

    The real issue is that you can not Prove 100 percent that they cause it.
    Now it appears they did. But even the bug expert would not say 100 percent sure.

    So you can hold them liable, and bill them, they can refuse to pay, you can them sue them or file for eviction.
    At that point, it will be up to you, to produce evidence that would show they are liable for this payment. You can have the exterminator come in and testify as to what they saw, and what they believe. You can show the dates of the rental. Show they did not complain of the bugs previous to this.

    So there is a good "assumption" that they are the ones that brought this into the house.

    I guess the question is, are they good tenants? What type of written lease do you have with them? Has any idea of how the bugs were bought in? So it does not happen again.

    **** You only printed part of the law, the first part of the section said on all structures that the landlord is resposnible for extermination prior to renting. So you may need to prove you had a professional extermination of the house and inspection prior to the tenant moving in.

    D) Extermination (1) All Structures. If necessary, the property owner shall be responsible for extermination within the structure and on the premises before renting or leasing the structure.
    (2) Single Occupancy. The tenant of a structure containing a single housing unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests in the strucuture or the premises.
    (3) Multiple Occupancy. Each property owners or operator of a structure containing two or more housing units shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests in the structure or on the premises except where infestation within a housing unit is caused by a failure of the tenant to take reasonable action to prevent the infestation within the housing unit.

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