Can My Tenant Break Their Lease Because of Bed Bugs?

Can My Tenant Break Their Lease Because of Bed Bugs?

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Can My Tenant Break Their Lease Because of Bed Bugs?

Have your tenants reported bed bugs in their apartment? If so, the sooner you act, the less painful – and costly– it’ll be to get rid of them. With bed bug infestations rising in cities around the world, knowing how to handle the situation properly and promptly can help to safeguard your rental business. Tenants may also threaten to break their lease because of beg bugs, leaving your units vacant and your reputation smeared. To avoid this from happening to you, we’ve outlined the key points to be aware of if you encounter this situation with your property management business.

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Can A Tenant Break Their Lease?

Although these bugs are tiny, they can wreak havoc in apartment buildings by easily spreading from one unit to another. But luckily, they are not considered to be a serious health risk. For this reason, there is generally no valid cause for a tenant to break their lease due to a bed bug infestation. However, once a tenant informs their landlord or property manager about the problem, immediate action must be taken to treat and resolve the issue.  

What Happens If The Landlord Refuses To Treat The Bed Bugs?

In British Columbia, under Section 32 of the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords must ensure that their rental property is suitable for tenants and is compliant with all health, safety, and housing standards required by law. Under the Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 1, the landlord is also responsible for dealing with any necessary pest control throughout their properties. Each municipality’s bylaw will further outline detailed responsibilities of the landlord in relation to pest infestations. In Vancouver, the bylaw specifically states, “If pests have infested land or any building or accessory building on it, the owner of the land must eliminate the infestation”.

 

If the landlord or property manager does not adequately treat the infestation by contracting a pest control management company, the tenant does have the right to request an order for the landlord to comply through the Residential Tenancy Branch. A Bylaw Officer may be sent over to inspect the property and issue warnings and fines to enforce the necessary corrective action. 

Who Is Responsible For Paying For The Treatment?

Even if a tenant unknowingly brought the beg bugs into their apartment, they are not responsible for arranging and paying for the treatment if they report the problem in a timely manner. The landlord is still accountable for dealing with the infestation. 

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Can My Tenant Break Their Lease Because of Bed Bugs?

Is The Landlord Responsible For Tenant Expenses?

To remediate the bed bug issue, tenants may have to cover certain expenses out of pocket, including the cost of laundering clothing, a night’s stay at a hotel, replacing the bedding and mattress, among other things. The landlord could be held responsible for paying some additional expenses if the tenant can prove that the landlord did not act in a swift or responsible way to control the problem as soon as they were notified. For the claim to be successful, the tenant must prove to the Residential Tenancy Branch that the landlord was negligent and in violation of the Act for the loss or damages claimed. They must also provide receipts to prove this.

Can The Tenant Be Held Responsible?

If the tenant did not report the infestation in a timely manner or denied the landlord access to the unit to conduct an inspection, or refused to cooperate during the treatment process, the landlord may be able to request some financial contribution by the tenant to the Residential Tenancy Branch. 

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Who Is Responsible If The Bed Bugs Return?

If a landlord applies a treatment or hires a pest control service to handle the infestation and it fails to eradicate the bugs, the landlord is still responsible for remediating the issue. That’s why it’s important to hire an effective, licensed pest management service that can successfully remove bed bug infestations.

 

Don’t waste money on pest remediation services that don’t work. Contact us at Integral Pest Services instead and we will permanently resolve your bed bug problem with a single treatment. Unlike heat and chemical applications, we use a safe biopesticide that targets the bugs directly by infecting them, killing them within 3 to 7 days. The active ingredient lasts for 3 months, ensuring that any meandering bed bugs are completely eliminated – safely and effectively. 

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