Bedbugs and landlord liability

7 Replies

Recently an area where I have rental properties has become a hotspot for bed bugs.

Treatment companies are now wanting astronomical rates ($800-$1500) to do treatments on properties. Unfortunately with how prevalent the problem has become, it's becoming un-economical to have the companies treat the rentals as the cost is more than a month's rent, and virtually no companies will guarantee a fix due to tenants often not complying with requirements to clean up.

So, my question is about landlord self treatment. One of the individuals on my repair crew at one time has worked for one of the local termination companies, and assures me there's not a whole lot to it as long as you can find the correct chemicals to use.

After research I've found what appears to work extremely well on bedbugs, including the ones that are typically resistant to 'normal' regimens.

My concern now is about liability. Pesticides can have negative effects, however it seems as long as you follow directions it isn't too bad (Specifically dilution and not overspraying). I'm curious though about liability and potential ramifications. 

Does your post relate to SFR or to an apartment? I'd have two different answers depending on the property, but I personally don't self-treat any pest control issues. I think you need to find the right pest control company that can treat BB effectively. Disrupt the life cycle and treatment will be successful.

This is one thing that I would not DIY. Can you shop around for rates a few miles outside of your immediate area of the property? You may have to eat the cost of the treatment for preventative maintenance purposes and possibly divert the cost of treatment to the tenant should they not follow proper treatment preparations resulting in the pest control company not able to perform the service.

The problem is from all the pest control companies I've talked to, no one guarantees that what they will do will work (The heat treatment companies or the chemical based ones). For the most part, they ALL charge for initial treatment (Anywhere from $800 to $1,000) then $200-$300 per additional treatment. In one case I had the company treat 3 times and they still had not got rid of the problem.

"My concern now is about liability. Pesticides can have negative effects, however it seems as long as you follow directions it isn't too bad (Specifically dilution and not overspraying). I'm curious though about liability and potential ramifications. "

I'm with you - - all it would take would be for a child or pet to become sick.  Using a professional gives you arms length immunity and they are presumed to be knowledgeable and have liability insurance.

It's just not worth the savings.

Doing some research, in my state at least, the licenses & liability insurance for pest control actually seem to be really, really low.

We carry a $3m+ umbrella policy + $1m per property, it may make sense to get a pest applicator license and the like if we see more bedbug issues. I can't justify having a 'professional' do it if the cost for 2x bedbug treatments is more than enough for a few year's worth of liability insurance plus all the materials.

Same curiosity about liability with heat treatment. A landlord friend of mine sent me a note today that he had his own heat treatment program in place which was quite effective at taking care of them. 

brandon brilliant IDEA  I hope you were able to do your plan It is all worth it to get your own non commercial applicator  license and do it yourself the treatment cost nothing and these companies charge like crazy because the demand is high with the new epidemic of bed bugs