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Bed Bugs - landlords urged to work together with tenants

Landlords need to work “proactively” with tenants if and when bed bug cases emerge, an industry figure claims.

Jonathan Rolande of the National Association of Property claims the law over who is responsible for dealing with bedbugs is a grey area. 

“There does appear to be evidence that this problem is getting worse, and landlords and tenants need to work proactively to deal with this. 


“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.

“Pests and vermin include: bed bugs, fleas, flies, rats, mice and cockroaches.

“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.

Rolande continues: “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 seek professional advice as to how best to treat any issues.

“They 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.

“Additional care should be taken by landlords where children or vulnerable people are in occupation.

“As a last resort, either party can contact their local Environmental Health Department who will assess the issue and tell either party to fix the problem.”

Explaining the properties most likely to be impacted, he adds: “Rented properties are more likely to suffer from pests or vermin as they are often in older, less well-maintained buildings than those that are owner-occupied, are in many cases closer to commercial property increasing the risk and of course the turnover of occupants is another contributing factor."

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    Keeping pets increases the risks of infestation fleas bugs worms etc. That’s why I say no to pets especially dogs. House recently ruined because tenant lied about having dogs there.
    As for bed bugs tenant is responsible full stop I didn’t bring them in and if I did I’d want them paying rent

  • George Dawes

    Yes this big push to have pets at home is having serious side effects , like lots of stuff at the moment ...

  • Peter Lewis

    As for bed bugs. If the accommodation is furnished, supply the bed frame, but not the mattress.

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    George, and has caused me so much hassle to get the EPC & Gas Certificate done, appointments made & Cancellations the Dog is there you can’t go in, as if the Gas Engineer has nothing else to do only dance around a dog, it hard enough to get them to come at all

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    So tenant goes on holiday. Brings back bed bugs . Landlords should seek professional advice on how to treat! Or if they can claim on their insurance! Iwould get them treated and then supply the invoice for the tenants attention. If I have the misfortune to bring those beasts into my home I would expect to have to sort it out myself.

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    What about tenants illegally subletting their rooms? My tenant did this and got bedbugs. How many people are coming and going in there? Infesting one place to the next.

    Richard LeFrak

    Way it’s going Nick you will owe a load of people a load of compo!

    No win no fee ambulance chaser will be all over it, your only defence will be you didn’t know they was there…


    Peter, it's one of the biggest reasons I am getting out. Loss of S21 is unacceptable. Without it and this 'impartial' ombudsman the landlord will be guilty of everything.

    The process will be tenant complains to landlord. Landlords jumps as the tenant will always have no fear of going to the 'impartial' ombudsman for the work to be done, the instructed apology and the compensation. Nice little earner.

    BTL is a complete no-go zone as far as I am concerned.

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    Very few insurance policies cover bedbugs. Most only cover wasps, mice and rats.
    Professional treatment of bedbugs costs a huge amount. One of my tenants brought them back from somewhere a couple of years ago into an HMO and I very rashly agreed to pay about 35% of the bill so the communal areas were also treated. My share of the bill was £390. The bedrooms were £710. One of the most frustrating things was that even though the treatment company fully explained it was important to leave their belongings in the house so it could all be treated the tenants all decided to put huge amounts of personal belongings in the garage so it wasn't treated.
    In addition to the £390 I also replaced the bed frame and mattress in the room where the infestation started and provided mattress encasements for all other rooms.


    My tenants got them around 6 months after moving in. It was empty from Nov - Mar beforehand. I spoke to some treatment people. They said they will hibernate / go to sleep in an empty house so they may have been from the people before. He said it was very unlikely and it was probably the tenants. I just had to treat one bedroom. I agreed to pay half the cost (maybe £150 back in 2016).

    I was waiting outside shortly before. A young blond man took out the rubbish. Her husband was a dark haired Romanian as was she. I told her she had other people living there (I didn't say how I knew). She said he was her cousin. I asked how many cousins have you got to which she burst out laughing.

    I don't mind this but it's this sort of thing with the endless lies and excuses landlords will have. With no S21 landlords will be at the mercy of the tenants, councils, government and 'charities'. I fear never being able to get them out even if selling. No thanks!

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    Tenant responsibility end of


    In a self contained property with just one tenancy agreement I'd agree with you. The problem there though is if they move out without eradicating the infestation.
    In a HMO with multiple tenancy agreements it's less clear cut and requires the cooperation of all tenants.

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    Totally agree, it’s not my problem and I would not pay to sort it. Can I just check are we responsible for relationship break up’s, Covid, AIDS and other diseases, and are we required to pay for counseling and sending Tenants on Holiday.

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    Totally agree Andrew. Bed bugs a tenants responsibility. Unless the L Lord sleeps with the tenant their.😁


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