Bed Bugs Bill Tries To Hold Tenants Accountable For Infestation
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
LINN COUNTY, IA - They're the tiny critters that make your skin
Bedbugs are creeping their way into the Iowa legislature as
landlords try to make tenants more accountable for an
House study bill 520 would require tenants to report bedbugs within
a week of moving into a new apartment or within two days of
discovering the bugs. If the renter fails to notify the property
manager, they could be stuck with the cost of getting rid of the
bugs. The bill is still being debated in a house
According to a study done by Linn County Public Health, it costs
about $800 for one professional treatment of bedbugs. Public Health
also estimates the community spends tens of thousands of dollars a
month killing these pests.
"A lot of times tenants will try to deal with the problem
themselves, and then the problem gets out of control," explained
Marion Landlord and former President of Landlords of Iowa, Keith
Smith says that's the reasoning behind a new bill backed by the
Iowa Landlord Association. The bill tells renters they have two
days to alert a property manager about a bedbug problem or risk
paying thousands of dollars in pest control fees.
Linn County Public Health says it's tough to put a time frame on
"I really think there needs to be a robust education training
program with this," said bedbug expert, Ruby Perin.
Perin says it can take two days or two weeks for a bite to show up
on skin. The bugs can also hide in other areas of a home. A person
could check their bed and see nothing, but still have an
"It's very landlord based," Perin said, "If I was a tenant moving
in, I'd want some kind of certification this is bed bug
A member of the Iowa Attorney General's office, William Brauch,
agrees saying he's "never seen a bill this unbalanced." But Smith
says this is a study bill meant to start conversation about this
He agrees education is a big part of the issue statewide.
"Yes, it's expensive," Smith said, "we understand it's expensive,
but the sooner you tell us the cheaper it is to be addressed."