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Bed Bugs and Rental Units: What You Need to Know

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons of the year for renters. With colleges, internships, and residencies starting in fall, many roommates, couples, and single people begin searching for a home or apartment to rent come June or July.

Renting is a smart, economical way to live, particularly for a short period of time. However, with the bed bug population across the US higher than almost ever before, there are a few things you need to be aware of when considering a rental.

If You’re A Renter:

If you’re planning on renting an apartment, condo, townhome, or house, here are a few things to keep in mind to keep clear of bed bugs:

– Bed Bugs can live in more places than you think. If the unit has carpet that looks old or worn, it may be a good idea to bring in a pest specialist to check for bugs before you move in. Talk to the landlord about paying for this expense.

– Bed Bugs can live in furniture for years undetected. Many renters choose to live in furnished apartments to save on moving costs but beware if your unit comes with fabric-covered furniture like chairs, couches, or mattresses. Inspect all fabric carefully for signs of bed bugs before signing the lease.

– These pests can live in many areas other than furniture and, well, beds. Draperies, piles of stored clothes, and even lawn can harbor these blood-sucking pests. Know what to look for before you rent.

If You’re A Landlord:

It’s your responsibility to ensure your dwelling is bed bug free before securing a tenant. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

– If you’re renting an older home or one with furniture, have a pest control professional come in and assess your house for bugs (particularly bed bugs) and give you a written report before renting it out.

– Be sure to have your home re-inspected after every tenant. Even the cleanest, tidiest tenants can unknowingly bring bed bugs into your dwelling and pass them on to the next renter.

– It may be worth the money to invest in bed bug proofing your unit for future rentals. This means removing all fabric surfaces and replacing them with hard surfaces (that are easier to clean!) like carpet, curtains, bedding, and fabric-covered furniture.

Bed bugs can be anywhere, from the swankiest hotel to the dirtiest hovel. Don’t assume that because a rental looks clean that it is – always bring in a pest professional if you have any doubts about bed bugs.

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