Bed bug infestations occur in many different types of residential and non-residential facilities, including homes, apartments, and condos. Here are some things to know about bed bugs in condos and what to do if you encounter an infestation.
When the Unit Owner Is Responsible
If an individual unit is infested with bed bugs and the condominium association is unaware, the individual unit owner could be found responsible for the infestation. Sometimes bed bugs can transfer to your apartment as a result of interactions with another property owner that committed the negligent act. If only your unit has an infestation, consider if you have been on any recent trips, had any overnight guests or acquired any new or different furnishings. If so, there is a chance someone other than the unit owner is responsible for your damages.
When Associations Are Responsible for Bed Bugs in Condos
One situation in which an association could be found liable for your damages occurs when bed bugs travel from one condominium to another unit. Bed bugs have the ability to migrate easily from one room to another through plumbing, electrical wiring, and adjacent walls. If the association is made aware of one or more infestations in common elements within the building, the association is required to promptly eliminate bed bugs because the association is typically responsible for maintaining these parts of the building.
Apart from eliminating the initial infestation in common elements, a declaration may also require the association to take certain preventative measures to ensure that no future infestation occurs in these elements as most property owners have a nondelegable duty under state law to do so.
When Associations Fail to Act
If the association receives notice of an infestation in walls or other common elements and refuses to take action, an owner could file a claim for failure to properly maintain the facility or for endangering the safety and health of the community. Therefore, if an association becomes aware of an infestation in common elements, it is typically the association’s duty to eliminate and prevent future infestations in these areas. However, if an owner fails to maintain his or her unit, then the association may treat the unit and hold the owner accountable.
Taking Steps to Eliminate and Prevent Condo Bed Bug Infestations
To help prevent the infestation and spread of bed bugs, associations should provide sufficient education to owners to help them take the right steps to prevent infestations in their units. Additionally, property owners should be thoroughly inspecting each unit before renting to a new tenant, and new tenants should inspect prior to moving in.
If you believe that an association’s negligence has resulted in a bed bug infestation in a condominium, you may be eligible to receive compensation with the help of an experienced bed bug lawyer. The right lawyer may be able to help you determine if you have a case and inform you of the next steps to take.