What is a Bed Bug Addendum and Why Should You Want One?

There was a time, not so very long ago, when bed bug infestations were something of a rarity. In fact, there are generations of Americans that grew up with little or no experience of these blood-sucking pests. Bed bugs had become hardly more than characters in nursery rhymes and bed time stories.

But those days are long gone. Over the last few decades bed bugs have made a startling return to our homes and workplaces. They have become one of the most pervasive pest in the country, causing untold emotional and financial stress to anyone caught up in a large scale infestation.

The situation has become so problematic that an increasing number of states have had to pass legislation addressing how landlords and property owners deal with bed bugs on their properties. Which brings us to the bed bug addendum.

What Exactly is a Bed Bug Addendum?

A bed bug addendum is an important part of a lease agreement. It contains vital information specifically related to bed bugs. It also outlines the rights and responsibilities of renters, landlords, and property owners as they relate to infestations.

A typical bed bug addendum will include the following information:

  • General bed bug policy

  • Financial responsibilities for bed bug infestations

  • Certification that the property being offered for rent is currently bed bug free

  • Disclosure requirements as they pertain to the renter (i.e. if you get bed bugs you are required to immediately notify your landlord or the property manager)

  • Treatment requirements as they pertain to both renter and landlord

  • Eviction procedures

  • Security deposits

  • Remediation fees

How a Bed Bug Addendum Benefits the Renter/Tenant

If, as a prospective renter, you’ve never been faced with a bed bug addendum your first reaction might be to turn tail and run from the property. But a bed bug addendum should not be a cause for undue concern. Just the opposite. If a landlord hands you a bed bug addendum it means that they are diligently looking after the property. It signals that they are aware of the importance of effective pest control and are dedicated to protecting their properties as well as their tenants.

A bed bug addendum attached to your lease agreement means that the property owner has a policy in place regarding bed bug infestations. It certifies that your rental is bed bug free and tells you what rights and responsibilities you have as the renter regarding pests and pest control. If you’re wondering if you should sign a bed bug addendum the short answer is “yes”. It protects you and proves that your landlord is committed to protecting their tenants and buildings from bed bugs and other pests.

How a Bed Bug Addendum Benefits the Landlord/Property Owner

Of course, like rental agreements themselves a bed bug addendum serves both the renter and the landlord. Bed bugs can be an unexpected and costly expense. By taking the added steps of carefully inspecting units between tenants and including a bed bug report with new leases protects landlords from sudden financial and legal burdens.

Moreover, a bed bug addendum helps landlord to better manage their tenants’ security deposits. Clearly stating the rights and responsibilities of both parties at the outset of a rental agreement allows landlords to avoid any questions over the status of the tenant’s security deposit. If the renter is not forthcoming about an infestation and leaves behind a bed bug problem when they move out the forfeiture of their security deposit can not be disputed.

Naturally, landlords and property owners will want to consult an attorney when preparing a bed bug addendum to completely cover all bases.

Bed Bug Disclosures and Addenda are the New Normal

With bed bug infestations on the rise many states now require property owners and landlords to present prospective tenants with bed bug disclosures and addenda. Upwards of 30 states now have legislation in place addressing bed bug infestations and the responsibilities of renters and property managers. These requirements should not be seen as an impediment to either the renter or the landlord as they provide important protections for both parties.

Published by Scott Palatnik

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