What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small wingless insects, about a quarter inch or smaller, ranging in color from yellowish-white to reddish-brown. Bed bugs feed on blood, normally during the night. Most bed bug populations congregate in cracks and crevices near where humans and pets sleep or rest.
Where Do Bed Bugs Normally Live?
- Box springs
- Easy chairs
- Night tables
- Electronic devices such as alarm clocks and radios
Infestations of bed bugs are not limited to homes and hotels; they can be found in public transportation, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
How Can I Be Sure I Have Bed Bugs?
Evidence of a bed bug infestation may include presence of the bed bugs, their cast exoskeletons, or rust-colored spots/stains on bedding, walls, or furniture. Bed bugs can live many months (adults generally live up to one year) without a blood meal while hiding in cracks and crevices.
Bed bugs are more than a minor nuisance: their presence is unsanitary and potentially dangerous if you experience an allergic reaction. While bed bugs do not transmit diseases to humans, bed bug bites can cause red, raised, itchy lesions on the skin that may take up to fourteen days to develop. Scratching bug bites can also lead to secondary skin infections. Some individuals report significant psychological distress, disruption of sleep, nervousness, and agitation when dealing with a bed bug infestation.
According to the State of California’s Department of Public Health Division of Communicable Disease Control, owners and operators of hotels and guest houses should do all the following when notified of a bed bug problem:
Tenant Law Group is a Bay Area law firm focusing exclusively on the representation of tenants whose rights have been violated by their landlords, and have experience holding landlords accountable for failure to follow these guidelines. Remember, in California, it is your landlord’s responsibility to hire a PCO to remediate your bed bug infestation. If your landlord fails to act after being notified of the presence of bed bugs, contact a qualified bed bug lawyer for help.
Can You Really Sue a Landlord over Bed bugs?
Absolutely. The presence of bed bugs is more than a mere nuisance; an infestation can quickly spiral out of control and can greatly disrupt the lives of tenants.
You may have legal claims against your landlord if your landlord either fails to act or fails to act according to the applicable rules and regulations after you report the presence of bed bugs in your rental unit. Again, it is the landlord’s responsibility to hire a PCO (exterminator) to perform the appropriate treatments. It is not uncommon for landlords to botch the response and/or fail to respond at all, resulting in a return of the infestation and further harm and loss to the affected tenants.
Apart from any bodily, mental, or emotional injury a tenant suffers, bed bugs can force tenants to vacate rent-controlled dwellings. In these situations, displaced tenants may be priced out not only of their city, but also, potentially, out of the entire geographic area. This is particularly likely in areas with a high cost of living, such as the San Francisco Bay Area.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Bed Bug Lawsuit?Damages available to tenants who have been harmed by the presence of bed bugs may include the following:
What to Expect
When Should I Call a Bed Bug Lawyer in San Francisco?
In the meantime, if you are experiencing a bed bug infestation and have not done so already, immediately notify your landlord in writing (e.g., letter, fax, email, or text) and cooperate fully with any and all remediation efforts.
Communications with your landlord should always be memorialized in writing.