Can You Sue Your Landlord For Bed Bugs?

Landlord Protection Can You Sue Your Landlord For Bed Bugs?

Can I Sue My Landlord For A Bed Bug Infestation?

Did you know you can , fleas, rodents, cockroaches, and other infestations? Bed bugs, in particular, have been a particularly bad situation for tenants as they're difficult to exterminate. But since landlords are responsible for providing clean, safe homes for their tenants, it's their job to get rid of bedbugs in their rentals. If they don't, you can hold them liable in small claims court.

A Bit About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) depend 100% on human and animal blood to survive, and their bites can cause severe itching. The resulting skin irritation can lead to dangerous infections if left untreated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these are the signs of a bed bug infestation:

  • Tiny bite marks received while sleeping
  • These marks may not show up for several days in some people, dependent on an individual's sensitivity to allergens
  • Bed bug exoskeletons that have been shed after molting
  • Bed bugs in crevices of furniture, bedding, mattresses, and pillows
  • Spots of dried blood in bedding; this is from bed bug feces
  • A musty, sweet smell

Bed bugs themselves resemble ticks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes them as a reddish-brown colored insect about  3/16 to 1/4 inch long, and about 2/3 as wide. They're generally flat in profile, but after feeding their abdomens can swell up.

Young bed bugs are translucent yellow and are usually only visible after they've fed. Bed bug eggs are about the size of a pin head and are white. They have a single dark eyespot once they've reached five days old.

If you alert your landlord about a bedbug infestation and they refuse to resolve the situation, you may be able to .

Take Your Landlord to Court for a Bed Bug Infestation

If you have discovered a bed bug infestation in your rental home, and you're certain the insects didn't arrive with your belongings, you can seek compensation from your landlord through small claims court. This compensation might include:

  • Expenses you've incurred trying to get rid of the infestation
  • Dates you are not able to stay in the apartment
  • Hotel accommodations (within reason) for dates on which you could not inhabit the rental.

Think of the landlord's responsibility toward a pest infestation as the same as their responsibility for making repairs to your rental.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps you can take to prepare your case:

Keep Good RecordsThe first step in any legal action is documenting everything that happens from the moment you first noticed the bed bugs until you get a satisfactory resolution. Here's what you'll want in your notes:

  • The date you first saw signs of a bed bug.
  • How you found the first signs of the infestation.
  • What you did next; did you:
  • Contact the landlord? When, and how?
  • Try and get rid of the bed bugs yourself? When and how?
  • Get a quote from an exterminator? How much was it?
  • Keep a record of any phone calls, and print out emails between you and the landlord.
  • Keep a running tally of any expenses you incurred due to the infestation.
  • Take high-quality, well-lighted photographs of visible bed bugs and bed bug fecal stains.
Find a Tenancy LawyerIf you think you need representation to prompt your landlord to act, you might find one through your local tenant rights organization. Unless you fit into a low-income bracket, though, you'll likely end up with out-of-pocket fees that could cost more than the infestation itself, including hotel and personal property replacement fees.

(If you want the benefits of having an attorney without the cost and hassle, you'll learn more about DoNotPay's Sue Now product in a few minutes.)

Write a Demand LetterMost people, including you, probably don't want to go through the hassle of suing your landlord for an infestation. That is why you (or your lawyer) might first send your landlord a letter demanding action on their part to remedy the situation and compensate you for your costs and inconvenience. Here are the highlights of a good demand letter:

  1. Use business formatting, and type your letter.
  2. Clearly state and describe the nature of the problem. This is a good time to introduce the information you've recorded.
  3. Be clear in stating what actions you want the landlord to take.
  4. Give a deadline by which you expect extermination and cleanup to be completed.
  5. Request compensation for any incurred expenses.
  6. State your next steps if the landlord does not comply:
  • Will you take them to small claims court for your expenses?
  • Will you break your lease and sue for your deposit?
  1. Ask the landlord to respond to you in writing, preferably by USPS postal mail, within 7 business days.
  2. Sign your letter above your printed name and current contact information.

Mail your demand letter via registered postal mail, and keep your USPS receipts for your records.

How to Sue Your Landlord for Bed Bugs With DoNotPay

DoNotPay is here to guide you through your tenant issues and file your disputes on your behalf. Our Landlord Protection product can help you:

  • Get back your security deposits.
  • Learn about your state's eviction laws and what protections apply in your case.
  • Resolve disputes regarding repairs with your landlord.
  • Resolve disputes with roommates by filing demand letters or going through small claims court.
  • Break your lease early.

If you want to pursue legal action against your landlord, but you want it done correctly, quickly, and without the expense of hiring a lawyer, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:

1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.



2. Select which issue applies to you.



3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.


4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.


And that's it. You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

How Else Can DoNotPay Solve Your Rental Conflicts

Some other ways DoNotPay can help with challenges surrounding your landlord and rental home include:

  1. Get your security deposit back from your landlord
  2. Learn how to legally kick out a roommate
  3. Learn what to do if your landlord is threatening to evict you
  4. Find out where, if, and why your landlord can evict you without notice
  5. Find out how long a landlord has to return a deposit in your state or city
  6. Understand your rights as a tenant
  7. Find out where to file a complaint against your landlord

Can DoNotPay Help With Other Legal Issues?

Yes, we can! We'll take the pain out of protecting your rights and helping you advocate for yourself in hundreds of different situations. We can also help with obscure issues such as these:

? The sooner you have DoNotPay on your side, the sooner you'll be living in a clean, safe home.

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