Some Renters Could Have To Sign Bed Bug Pact

WBNS-TV (OH): Some Renters Could Have To Sign Bed Bug Pact
Friday, June 3, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Renters in central Ohio could see a new clause in their rental agreements, as some landlords are now making their tenants sign a bed bug pact when they move into a residence, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported on Friday.

Backed by the Columbus Apartment Association, some renters have received what is called a Pest Management Plan that requires them to take certain steps that help fight the spread bed bugs.

The plan requires them to wrap their mattresses in vinyl, keep pet food in sealed containers, vacuum regularly and inspect used furniture or clothing before moving them into the premises.  Failing to do so could result in eviction, Landers reported.

Attorney Robert Goldstein said landlords are within their rights to put the clause to their leases.

"In general I think it is the landlord (who) has a duty and an obligation to keep the property and the premises insect free," Goldstein said.

However, the contract also states that if a tenant moves out, and bed bugs are found in their residence, then they could still be charged for the cleanup.  Goldstein said he expects that portion of the contract to be challenged.

"That may be tough for them to enforce," he said.

And what happens if a neighbor's bed bugs infect other apartments?

"If there is more than one unit, and there is an infestation in more than one unit, then it's the landlord's responsibility," Goldstein said.

Greg Kerr has lived in a Reynoldsburg apartment for seven years.  His home has been bed bug free, and he hopes the pact helps it stay that way.

"Personally I feel that we take good care of our residence," he said, "but you always have to worry about the guy next door."

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