I'm not crazy, right?

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
885 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

One of my friends from university found bedbugs in an apartment they were living in, but they were pretty sure they were already there when they moved in.  They ended up having to take the landlord to some type of municipal court to get reimbursed for the cost of dealing with it.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a really hard time getting any money back from the landlord.  But it should be possible.  Maybe check with your local housing authority to see if they have any information?

Post # 5
Member
6030 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

This is one of the downsides to apartment/condo living. You share walls with so many other people, and their bugs become your bugs.  That said, it actually sounds like your landlord is doing the right thing. It’s not the landlord’s responsibility to care for your belongings, only the structure, and while it sucks that you have to pay to board your pets or wash your laundry, it’s truly your responsibility and not the landlord’s.  As to how early you were notified of the potential infestation, really you’ve only got a bit of neighborhood gossip to go on.  And bedbugs are like termites or other pests where the entire structure, even the unaffected areas, may need to be treated, depending on the circumstances.

If you don’t have full access to the apartment for 3 weeks then it would be reasonable to ask that the rent for those weeks be pro-rated, but expecting them to pay for your laundry costs and pet boarding is not a realistic expectation.

 

Post # 6
Member
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

OMG. I honestly don’t know what the proper protocol would be in this situation. I’d be just like you and pissed as hell that they are refusing to pay for it, though! I’m so sorry you’re going through this!!!

DH and I used to live in a shitty apartment 2 years ago and his dad is the property manager of the building. He told us there was an awful bed bug infestation recently. Apparently a few months back, one of the families in the building had bed bugs but supposedly took care of it. Then a few weeks ago, ALL the tenants in the building were reporting bed bugs. Turns out the family that had the bed bugs a few months ago WASN’T the cause of the outbreak! They found out it came from this really gross lady that lives next door to the family. She has had bed bugs for a really long time now and never did anything about it so it finally spread to everybody else! I asked if she was evicted but I guess she’s still living there! I was outraged FOR them. She’s a Section 8 tenant but I’m pretty sure she can still be evicted just like any other renter. 

DH’s dad’s apartment is completely torn up. I guess they had to get rid of a bunch of furniture and ripped up all the carpets. I’m pretty sure each tenant is responsible for taking care of that because, like I said, it’s a really shitty apartment building and I’m sure they’d laugh in your face if you asked to be reimbursed. 

Post # 8
Member
1722 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Horseradish:  +1

I understand how angry you are but at the same time, no one expects to bring in bed bugs, you know?  Also, it is really hard to find the culprit of bed bugs.  We won’t know if the bed bugs actually gone into the walls or it was brought in by someone else new.

Post # 9
Member
6030 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

@icanhearyousmile:  Because your property is your responsibility.  There is no duty of care for the landlord to look after your things; you’re not paying the landlord for that service. You’re only paying the landlord for access to the space.  And the landlord isn’t treating the building only to make the apartments better for the tenants; he/she is also looking after his investment. It’s like if there were lead paint on the walls, it’s no harm to you if you don’t have kids (and don’t lick the walls) but the landlord may choose to sand down the walls, and it would fall to you to protect your property.

If you have a renters’ insurance policy there’s a decent chance that you’d be covered (depends on the policy) but if there was a fire, your landlord wouldn’t be responsible to replace your belongings unless of course your landlord actually burned the building down.

If you lived in a house you owned, and brought bedbugs home from a vacation, that would be your responsibility. If there was a fire and the apartment only had smoke damage, it would be your responsibility to have your clothes cleaned.    But, if you took your clothes to a dry cleaner and brought them home full of bedbugs, you’d have a reasonable expectation that paying someone to clean your clothes would not result in them being infested, hence a more reasonable claim against the dry cleaner to clean everything you owned (but still not to board your cats).

 

Post # 10
Member
2400 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@icanhearyousmile:  Sorry, but I seriously doubt it’s their responsibility to pay for washing/boarding of your personal things/pets…. However, they should be pro-rating your rent and not charging you for the time you are not in the apartment (3 weeks I think?). I would push that issue hard because that is their responsibility, and I would think that would be enough to pay for your boarding & laundry, so you are still getting what you want…

Maybe if you had proof that the bed bugs existed prior and they knew it and covered it up you might have more of a standing, but all you have now is neighborly gossip which wouldn’t get you anywhere legally speaking… sorry =(

Post # 12
Member
1327 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

Since you are so sure that you don’t have them, and said they can’t prove who cleaned, why are you doing it?  Just tell them you did.  At most on the treatment days maybe throw your stuff in bags so it looks like you are doing it. 

Post # 14
Member
6030 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

@icanhearyousmile:  Well it would be reasonable to request they share their plan regarding making sure everyone complies, because they probably have one. It’s really expensive to treat a whole building for bedbugs, and it’s unlikely that they will trust the overall condition of their investment to tenants who may or may not have the same standards.  I think you’d be within your rights to calmly ask them what they are doing to ensure everyone complies and that you won’t be going through the same drill again in 6 months. They would be within their rights to decline to share that info though. But it’s a reasonable thing to ask for.  I’d recommend you keep reciepts of anything you take to the dry cleaner or professional laundry, and at a minimum keep track of what days you do your own laundry and what items you wash; this is more to protect yourself because if the infestation returns, they may begin billing tenants for the treatments if the tenants can’t produce proof of compliance.  Which would actually be reasonable but may need to be disclosed up front– it’s like how my dog used to set off the alarm in my condo just by barking, and eventually the cops told the condo manager that if they kept having to respond to false alarms, they’d start billing the condo owner (me).

It’s also possible for bedbugs to nest where you can’t easily see them— normally you’d expect to see their debris or some evidence of biting, but that’s not always the case.  You might only ever know they are there if you set out traps for them, and even then it might take a couple of weeks for them to get into the trap. That’s one of the things that makes it so important to treat the entire premises.  They may be nesting underneath a carpet or inside a wall vent and you just don’t know it. 

Post # 16
Member
6030 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

@icanhearyousmile:  Personally I think a diary of how many items were washed on what day would be enough, maybe a camera phone picture of the stuff waiting to be loaded and then once it’s taken back out.  I think it’s unreasonable to expect every tenant will have everything dry cleaned. That said, you may want to get some prices for commercial laundry, which is often done at the dry cleaner as well, because with that amount of laundry, it mihgt be cheaper to just haul everything to be professionally washed/dried/folded, and it will certainly be easier.  I did a quick google search for laundry by the pound in DC and found this place which is $1.20/lb picked up and delivered when it’s done, if you have 80lb of laundry.  http://www.wishywash.com/pickup.htm

No idea how much your apartment laundry costs so I can’t compare it for you, and no idea if that is the best price. Just the first one I found.  If I had to wash everything I owned, I’d totally pay for a service to come get it, wash it, fold it, wrap it in plastic and bring it back.

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