Bed Bugs and Landlord-Tenant Disputes
The majority of bed bug related landlord-tenant disputes stem from the landlord’s lack of knowing how to deal with an infestation in an apartment and from not having a coherent bed bug policy as to proper cleaning, extermination and the hiring of certified experts to address an infestation. (Bed bug sprays and DIY methods, if done incorrectly, can simply lead to the bed bugs spreading to other areas of the home or apartment units in the complex.)
Bed bugs have been found in high-end apartment complexes and vacation resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found. If left untreated or not treated properly, the bed bugs will reproduce quickly, creating a severe infestation in a short amount of time.
According to Florida statute 83.51, unless agreed in writing, the landlord of an apartment complex is required to exterminate for bed bugs.
(2)(a)Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:
1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.
Furthermore, Florida statute 83.56 states if a landlord materially fails to comply with 83.51 “… within 7 days after delivery of written notice by the tenant specifying the noncompliance and indicating the intention of the tenant to terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement.”
It is highly recommended to do your due diligence and/or seek legal advice regarding the Florida statute on bed bug infestations and landlord-tenant disputes.