Landlords And Tenants Warned CHG

Landlords And Tenants Warned Of Bed Bugs

A property association says landlords and tenants warned that they must join forces with to “proactively” tackle the growing bed bug crisis.

Landlords and tenants warned by the association with stark warning following reports of some landlords and agents telling tenants the best way to deal with the bed bugs is put their duvets in the freezer.

Figures from Rentokil highlights the surge in bedbug infections with a 65 per cent increase this year compared to last year.

A spokesman for the association said that the onus of responsibility law wise for dealing with the problem is currently a ‘grey area’, and said: “There does appear to be evidence that this problem is getting worse, and landlords and tenants need to work proactively to deal with this.

He said: “Issues with pests can sometimes be something of a grey area when it comes to putting things right – what is the landlord’s responsibility and what is the tenant’s is often a cause of argument.”

He added: “A tenant could be held responsible if they do something that encourages pests. Examples of this could be keeping a pet that has fleas, discarding food waste or not storing rubbish properly.

“Landlords are unlikely to be liable for bed bugs unless it can be proved the infestation was there prior to taking up residence.”

Bed bugs can live for six months without food and in the case of adults one year or more dependent on the climate.

Over the weekend reports have appeared of landlords starting to advise tenants of the best ways to deal with an infestation.

A director of tenancy services at a lettings platform sent advice and guidance to tenants concerned about the threat of the ever growing bed bug crisis.

He suggests that worried tenants who believe they may have brought back bed bugs into their home they should ‘put affected clothes and bedding in the freezer for a few hours before washing’.
They should also take the following steps to “wash bedding and clothes on a hot wash (at least 60C) and tumble dry on a hot setting for 30 minutes”.

Another must do is to as quickly as possible thoroughly run the vacuum cleaner throughout the home and immediately empty the bag as the bugs stand a good chance of still being alive.

He told the Daily Mail: “They are incredibly small – 5 to 7mm long – and it’s easy for them to get into a home without anyone noticing.

“Considering the bugs can live for up to six months without food, one of the most difficult problems people face is the fact they’re so hard to remove – and may only be noticed when there is a full infestation.”

The property association is telling landlords they must check their insurance policies before carrying out work.

A spokesperson said: “Any issue should be reported to the landlord or their agent. Works can then be carried out to eliminate the issue. This may include such things as fumigation, clearing accumulated rubbish, blocking cracks where vermin could be entering, or laying poison.

“Landlords should check any insurance policy they may have that could cover the cost of sorting it out.

“In blocks of flats, the managing agent may need to be involved and the cost taken from the maintenance fund but this will only be in cases where neither landlord or tenant are at fault.”

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