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Bed bugs and landlords’ duty of care to tenants

Landlords have been urged to protect their properties against bed bugs with regular inspections.

Daniel Evans, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, says dealing with any infestation early is crucial. 

Evans says that although commonly known as bedbugs, these pests don’t limit their activities to mattresses: according to the NHS, they can make their homes in sofas, curtains, behind pictures and under wallpaper.


And although their bites are not considered dangerous, they can be itchy and leave their victim covered in red spots. They enter properties on clothing or in bags or luggage and once in they multiply quickly - a single bedbug can produce hundreds of offspring in a few months.

“The risk with rented properties is that the owner isn’t on the premises very often. It could be a few weeks before a tenant realises that the property has been infested and by then the problem will be far worse. No property is safe from pests – but the earlier you can tackle the problem, the better.”

Manchester, Leicester, Bristol and London are reported to have the worst bedbug problem in the UK but other cities including Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow are said to have had higher than average infestations.

Evans says that irrespective of who is formally responsible for the bugs’ arrival and handling, it is landlords who have a duty of care to their tenants.

He adds: “A thorough inspection at check-in can ensure that the property is safe before tenants move in and regular checks throughout the rental term can ensure the home is free from bedbugs and other pests that infest properties like rats, mice or cockroaches.”

“If they’re spotted at check-in, inventory clerks will gather photographic evidence which will be sent to the landlord who can then alert pest control. If they appear mid-term, it may be the tenant’s responsibility but the important thing is that any infestation is caught early before too much damage is done.”

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  • icon

    If existing tenant brings in bedbugs then it’s not my “duty of care” is it!
    Why should the LL pay all the time

    Law should be passed now that tenant pays for professional cleaning of property or charge will be attached to earnings or benefits.


    Well Said, this a joke, bed bugs ?
    If your tenant isn’t cleaning a home, we should be allowed to charge them .
    Since coved 80% of check outs are not clean.
    Tenants just walk away and don’t reply to you, is disgraceful how they behave in homes.

    Who would be a Landord in 2023?
    You’re told who to let too, have to pay through the nose and do the tenants jobs for them, Should we also cook a meal for them and clean up too ?
    What about ironing the clothes ?
    And taking out the rubbish ?

    What A Joke This Is


    Professional cleaning wouldn't get rid of bedbugs. It would require fumigation or heat treatment.
    Bedbugs aren't that fussed if a house is clean or dirty.

  • icon

    THEY are responsible, just like I would be in my own home !!

  • icon

    This is getting ridiculous. Unless they were there when the property was purchased, then its down to the occupier, who will have caused the infestation, probably by going on holiday and bringing them back. So how come that problem is immediately passed to the landlord? Surely the same as if their pet brings fleas into the property, the tenant will have to pay for the problem to be rectified.

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    Wait a minute. My tenant brings in a pet and the pet create nuisance. Guess who is responsible? HM Government, right? No, then why the landlord who has nothing to do with it.

  • John Wathen

    If it takes the tenant some weeks to realise there is a problem & they are actually living there, how the hell is the Landlord supposed to know sooner? The lunatics really have taken over the asylum!

  • icon

    "If they appear mid-term, it may be the tenant’s responsibility" MAY be the tenant's responsibility? This guy has to be joking surely? It WILL be the tenant's responsibility.

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    Just imagine trying to inspect the property once a month. Just coming to carry out your monthly pest inspection, turning over the mattresses, sofa cushions, checking the curtains. The tenants would love that! Oh, and that will put your monthly rent up to cover my time.


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