Bedbugs are an extreme nuisance and a growing problem in many cities in Ohio. Bed bugs are easily spread from person to person; leave annoying, very itchy red bumps in rows on the body; and are difficult and expensive to exterminate. If an infestation is bad enough, it is possible to spend thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, on getting rid of the pests. What do you do if your building or rental property is infested with bedbugs? If you are a tenant in Ohio, the Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.05 of the Landlord-Tenant Act dictates your rights and actions with regards to extermination and liability.
As a tenant, you are required to put forth your best efforts and care to prevent the presence of bed bugs. Since bed bugs are so easily transported from public space, like movie theaters, to private areas, like your bedroom, there is often not much a person can do in the way of prevention. Still, a tenant is responsible to act to prevent the further contamination of the community property by doing what he can to isolate the infestation. The Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force recommends bagging and cleaning all suspected infested items, vacuuming the carpet and floor, and wrapping all infected mattresses.
Interaction with Landlord
If an infestation is discovered, the tenant is required to notify the landlord immediately. The tenant must do this in writing. The landlord is then responsible for hiring the exterminator and treating the infected space. If directed by the landlord, the tenant must vacate and prepare the premises in order to facilitate a successful extermination.
The tenant is responsible for all extermination costs as charged by the landlord. This includes any costs associated with rescheduling an appointment due to failure to vacate the premises or failure to properly prepare for the extermination. In addition, the tenant is responsible for all costs related to replacing and restoring personal property.
If the tenant fails to comply with the procedures of extermination or if the tenant refuses to vacate the premises as needed for extermination, the tenant's lease can be terminated at the landlord's discretion. If the rental property is declared unlivable by the exterminator and the property remains infested, the tenant can terminate the lease as well without punishment.