Bed Bug Liability Suits on the Rise

Landlords and renters alike prefer their apartments and houses to be in the best possible condition—clean, well-kept, and free of vermin. As bed bugs continue their return to prominence in the United States after a dormant few decades in the late 20th century, concerns about vermin are more valid than ever before. But those renting out property may stand to lose more than their tenants if conditions are not satisfactory. Recently, hefty settlements and damages have been doled out to individuals who have proven that the negligence of landlords, exterminators, and other parties caused or prolonged bed bug infestations.

A family in Rutland, Vermont was awarded a large settlement for a bed bug case gone wrong this week. Neil and Patricia Whitney received $450,000 in exchange for ending a federal lawsuit against the agencies responsible for hiring the exterminators who responded to their bed bug problem. The exterminators used a banned pesticide, which was still dripping off of furniture for weeks afterward. “When it’s all said and done, this will allow them to start their life over with a little cushion,” said the Whitneys’ attorney, Karl Anderson.

Larger still were the damages the operators of two Des Moines, Iowa apartment towers were ordered to pay in a class action lawsuit this week. The Elsie Mason Manor and the Ligutti Tower, two downtown apartment complexes which cater to elderly, disabled, and low-income residents, were infested with bed bugs for a prolonged period of time. The operators were ordered to pay out $2.45 million to current and former residents of the buildings, who claim they were motivated more by doing the right thing than by pursuit of money. “We were never in it for the money,” said former resident Sue Rogers, who was bitten by bugs at the towers. “We just wanted [the bedbugs] out.”

With lawsuits for improper prevention and treatment of the bugs on the rise, it is possible that landlords will make a more concerted effort to avoid liability in the near future. The financial incentive is certainly a strong motivator!

Of course, being bitten by bed bugs is painful, and tenants ought to do their best to keep their homes clear of the pests. But not all accidents can be prevented. Bed bugs can be exterminated, though—and the pros at Bed Bug Solutions, human and canine alike, are on hand to help! Call today to find out more.