While owning a home is the American dream, there are more than 100 million people in the United States alone that rent. Renting can provide you with the freedom to move when you want, and not have to worry about certain features like fixing broken appliances. However, there can be somewhat of a gray area that many renters have to pause and question. What happens if there is a pest problem. Individually, what do you do if you have bed bugs?

Unlike other infestations, bed bugs are more complicated to get rid of. These annoying pests affect not only your quality of living but also your health. In this informative guide, we’ll go over some of the top things renters want to know when it comes to bed bugs. These include what rights you have, what can be done before and during renting. 


What are my renter's rights?


What is your right as the renter?

As a renter, you have rights. Though it might not seem like it at times, with the many rules and regulations, a landlord will place on you. There is one colossal right you are entitled to, and that is a livable unit, free of pests. In most states, it is entirely up to the landlord to maintain a pest-free property, which usually involves having a professional pest controller to perform rental property bug control

In addition to preventative services, which can be done monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, there is some worry about what happens when an infestation occurs, such as with bed bugs. Are there any exclusive rights you should know as a renter dealing with bed bugs? 

Always contact your landlord as soon as you suspect bed bugs. As a tenant, you have a right to know when the landlord will be entering your unit. They should give you prior written notice alerting you to having them and the pest control company enter your home. The announcement of entry is thought of as mandatory and is often law, depending on what state you live in. 

Renters are required to give landlords notice of the infestation within 24-48 hours of noticing it. This can significantly reduce the cost to the landlord for getting treatment. The renter should also cooperate with the landlord in an effort to get rid of the infestation; this can include leaving the unit while the pest controller performs the infestation. 

You should be keeping your apartment clean and doing your due diligence when it comes to bringing in used items from places such as a thrift store or items that you bring home from vacation that was in your hotel room. 


Clean apartment room for rent


What should you do?

Night after night, you find that you can’t stop itching. What is this itch? Then you find bumps on your skin and put together that there is definitely a reason you can’t stop scratching at night. Perhaps it took you a while to put the pieces together. This happens to many. They simply shrug off the possibility there are bugs, and instead, it’s just in their mind, or they just mindlessly scratch. 

Once you realize that the itching, bite marks, and finally, the small bugs you found in your bed are indeed bed bugs, what do you do? First, don’t flip out. This is something many will want to do. Secondly, you can’t keep it a secret, as the problem will never go away without professional treatments. Having bed bugs is not an indication of an uncleanly home, it can happen to anyone, no matter how much you clean.

Before renting

Before you even sign the lease agreement and move into your new unit, you should discuss with your landlord what will be done should there be an infestation in your unit. You should ask questions including how long will it take for the pest control to arrive and if you have to pay anything for this service. 

Generally, the landlord is responsible for all pest control. Though if it is found that you were negligent and brought bed bugs in, you could be at risk for having to pay. It is essential that all renters read their lease agreements, so they know what to expect. This document outlines everything you will need to know, or at least it should. 

During renting

The second you think that your rental property has a bed bug infestation, you should contact the office. Taking action sooner rather than later can make it easier to get the infestation under control. Though there are a few remedies that eliminate bed bugs, many pest controllers will want to use heat treatments. These are highly effective and guarantee to the landlord that the infestation won’t spread further. 

After you’ve discovered bed bugs, you’ll want to ready your unit for the pest controller. These can include starting with cleaning your apartment. Pick anything off the floor that doesn’t need to be there. You should vacuum all floors. Many pest controllers will advise you to throw away items that can’t be treated; these include your mattress. However, you should discuss this with your pest controller before proceeding, as there might be options available. 

All bedding and clothing will need to be washed in hot water and detergent to help prevent the spread of bed bugs. When in doubt, and if possible to replace, purchasing new bedding could provide added peace of mind. It’s essential that you follow all recommendations from your pest controller. They can advise you what you can do to keep your rental pest-free.


Woman sitting on bed arranging bed


How to Prevent Future Infestation

Once you’ve eliminated bed bugs from your rental, you’ll likely want to know what can be done to prevent them from coming back. The good news, for both renters and landlords, that preventing bed bugs is easier than you might think. In fact, if you follow these few precautions, you can drastically reduce the probability. 

Don’t bring home used bedding and clothing without washing.

Any used items you receive or purchase from a second-hand store, you should immediately wash. Don’t put them in your closet and save for later. You should also use detergent and hot water when cleaning. Bed bugs aren’t immune to hot water and are one of the best ways to destroy them, aside from professional bed bug heat treatments. 

Don’t Purchase Used Mattresses or Box Springs

Many individuals bring home bed bugs that have infested mattresses or box springs. Though it’s tempting to get a good deal on a used product, the implications can be severe. Skip used bedding in favor of sealed new products.

Wash Items After Vacation

If you stay in a hotel while on vacation, it’s a good idea to wash all items before putting them back into your drawer or closet. Because hotels are visited by many people, from all over the place, it is more likely that you could come in contact with bed bugs and bring them home. Take extra precautions when on vacation. If possible, avoid putting your items in dressers and bag clothes you’ve worn into a separate plastic bag. 



Renters are entitled to a clean, livable, pest-free environment. You have rights, just as your landlord does. The treatments for bed bugs can include pesticides or heat treatments, depending on the company. It is imperative that infestations be dealt with swiftly or risk infestation of other units. If you notice an infestation, don’t wait, contact your landlord for bed bug removal services as soon as possible.

To request service for getting rid of bed bugs contact us online at or give us a call at (760) 565-1203.