Hi all-got a landlord question. I rent a single family home-we actually lived in the house, up til 2.5 years ago. Had a nice family move in when we moved out, and they had no pest issues for 2 years. A new tenant moved in Jan 1 2018. The house was empty for a week or so. This week, the new tenant said they are having a bedbug issue-they of course moved all their furniture in, bought new furniture, and they work retail. As best I can tell, it seems probable that their furnishings/themselves are the source of the issue. The Orkin man they got a quote from told me that he thinks it is likely their furnishings. The tenant is asking me to pay for the treatment cost. I've never crossed this bridge as a landlord. Any thoughts?
Hi @Rj Kro ,
I have a friend who has used diatomaceous earth (food grade quality) successfully to get rid of bed bugs. You can place it along the edges/trim of the mattress and other places where they travel and hide.
Though I haven't used it for bedbugs, I have used it successfully for roaches (and anything with an exoskeleton). I know it works because I would see them dead with white powder on them. DE is basically ancient microorganisms that died and left their sicila (glass) skeletons/shells behind as microscopic shards of glass. There's a lot of info online if you're interested in this approach. I think a pest control company will charge you something like $1500 to $2000. DE is worth a shot as it doesn't cost that much. You can find forums online of people who have used it for bed bugs.
Be careful not to stir it up too much and breathe it in as it is a very fine powder (nothing particularly less safe than any other dust that you breathe in, but just wanted to throw that out there).
Thanks much. I've used DT myself for a flea problem once, and was happy with it. I suggested it to the tenant, and she is refusing to try it. She has booked an Orkin treatment at a cost of just shy of $2k, and is asking me to pay for 50% of it. Noone who ever occupied the house had any experience with bedbugs; the current tenants moved in of course with furniture, furnishings, clothing, etc, and work in a field with close contact to humans. I am by no means a slumlord, I pride myself of being responsive, but paying for half of the treatment just....doesnt sit right with me. I literally talked to the Orkin guy who would be doing the treatment, and asked him where they likely came from, and he said in all likelihood it was brought in on something of the current tenants. I always like to make a good faith effort as a landlord, and I'm struggling on this one as to what a good faith effort to meet them halfway looks like in this instance. Thoughts/suggestions, please!
@Rj Kro Pest treatment should be something you have addressed in the lease. My lease states that the tenant is to pay for pest treatment. That being said, I had a tenant move in last year to a new property I bought and they complained of roaches, granted this house was vacant for two years with no one living there before we rehabbed it, so we know the tenant brought them in. Given we just started the relationship we did pay for the home to be treated once and a follow up. Going forward he will be on his own. I think since it is a new relationship it is best to give the tenant the benefit of the doubt if you can afford to do so. Don't tell the tenant you are cutting them off after this just see how it plays out. Hopefully the pests will be gone but if you need to cut them off later just have them refer to the lease. Just my thoughts.
I just got done w/ a $2k bedbug issue on a new multi I bought, not fun. If you have a good exterminator, they can tell how long the infestation has been present. Mine had burrowed into the walls in several locations, so he knew they started at least a couple of years prior. If they are only on the furniture, no question it came in with the furniture. I will now have a bed bug / infestation addendum on every lease going forward. Good luck!
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