Area Apartment Dwellers with Bed Bugs on the Rise
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

HOUSTON - "A couple of years ago, you would have never seen a complaint on an apartment with a bed bug infestation," said Monica Russo with the Better Business Bureau. "It's something new that we're seeing and it's a growing trend."

In the last year or so, Houston's BBB says it started to see about one complaint a week from a renter crying foul over bed bugs. In fact, the bureau has received three bed bug apartment complaints in just the last three days.

"All they really want is someone to either address the issue or fix the problem or to just move to a similar type apartment," Russo said.

"It's a nationwide problem and certainly Houston is not immune," said Andy Teas, with the Houston Apartment Association.

The apartment association is also reporting an increase in inquiries about bed bugs. The most asked question? Who pays to get rid of the creepy little pests, the renter or the apartment owner?

"It's going to depend on your lease agreement," Teas said. "You want to be sure to read your lease agreement. Every lease is different. In most cases, the lease will say that reasonable pest control is the responsibility of the owner."

But in BBB complaints, a lot of renters say the complex blames them for the infestation and they must pay for the heat remediating which usually costs hundreds of dollars.

"Obviously, it can spread to other units and affect other tenants," Russo said. "So wasting your time doing the blame game, he said, she said, I don't know how effective that is at the end of the day. It doesn't solve the issue."

"Most important advice I can give is to notify your manager immediately," Teas said. "The quicker they can begin treating the problem the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for whoever ends up paying for it."