Are Your Bed Bugs for Rent?

  • April 14, 2017

The California legislature isn’t taking bed bugs lying down. California has enacted new landlord/tenant laws relating to bed bug infestations in rental properties. It is important for landlords to take note of the new provisions relating to bed bugs and to consult with their attorneys to make sure they are in compliance with these new provisions.

CCC §1954.602, which became effective on January 1, 2017, states:

  • A landlord shall not show, rent, or lease to a prospective tenant any vacant dwelling unit that the landlord knows has a current bed bug infestation.
  • This section does not impose a duty on a landlord to inspect a dwelling unit or the common areas of the premises for bed bugs if the landlord has no notice of a suspected or actual bed bug infestation. If a bed bug infestation is evident on visual inspection the landlord shall be considered to have notice pursuant to this section.

In addition to the requirements set forth in §1954.602 above, effective July 1, 2017, landlords must provide written notice, as prescribed by the California Civil Code, to prospective tenants with general information about bed bug identification, behavior and biology, the importance of cooperation for prevention and treatment, and the importance of and for prompt written reporting of suspected infestations to the landlord.  This notice provision will apply to all existing tenants effective January 1, 2018.

In addition to the foregoing, the legislature has incorporated the new bed bug statutes into those that govern landlord retaliation (prohibiting a landlord from retaliating against a tenant who gives notice to the landlord about the suspected presence of bed bugs).  Additional provisions have been added to the Civil Code that govern access to the premises to inspect for bed bugs as well as a requirement to provide a report to the tenant within two business days of receipt of the report from the pest control operator.

So, what about Nevada?  Just because a landlord is in Nevada does not mean that he/she cannot learn from the new laws and procedures that govern California landlords.  Even without a specific bed bug statute in Nevada that apply to landlords, a landlord may be sued for a number of causes of action for failure to remedy a known or suspected bed bug infestation (i.e. constructive eviction, breach of warranty of habitability, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, nuisance, among others).  Therefore, it may be less expensive in the end for a landlord to routinely order pest inspections of rental properties to avoid the risk of litigation that could stem from bed bug or other infestation of rentals properties.