Does Bed Bug Resurgence Warrant Change in Tenant Screening?

by Chris on September 10, 2010

ByKristen Fraser, TVS Staff Writer

A rising concern for landlords in the Vancouver, Canada area is the resurgence of bed bugs. Bed bug infestations are a costly and time consuming situation for landlords. A recent article in The Globe and Mail featured an apartment complex that plans to prevent the problem before it starts by building a sauna room for ‘de-bugging’ infected items. Heat seems to be one of the only proven methods of extermination.

Previous to these findings, landlords often found themselves reimbursing tenants for items they had to throw out, only to find bed bugs soon after.

The ‘de-bugging sauna’ rids residence of the bugs as well as their eggs, a likely cause for the bugs reappearance in homes. Because many of Vancouver’s subsidized housing facilities are having difficulties with bed bugs, they are requiring new tenants to use the sauna treatment on all of their belongings before moving in.

Is this the only solution to the problem or are landlords allowed to screen tenants for bug problems?

The Government of British Columbia’s Residential Tenancy Branch explains that there are no regulations against requiring the prospective tenants to provide a doctor’s note confirming that they don’t have any bites or bugs on them at the current time. This does not guarantee the prospective tenants won’t bring the bugs into your home, but is a step in the right direction.

If bed bugs are brought into a residence by a tenant it is their financial responsibility to rid the residence of the infestation. The landlord will be required to prove that they were the cause of the problem. Furthermore, if you have a multi-family rental unit the tenants deemed responsible for causing the problem will be financially responsible for any costs incurred by the people at the residence.

It has become common knowledge that tenant screening is necessary in reducing landlord risk. All landlords should be utilizing the variety of reports offered on www.tenantverification.com in order to reduce the chance of renting to delinquent tenants. A detailed Landlord Checklist can be found in the rental forms section on the website. If you are a landlord in an area where bed bugs are an issue, such as Vancouver, you will want to add the required information to your checklist. Remember that conducting your due diligence when screening tenants will save you time and money down the road.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).


Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

 
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

G.Schmidt September 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I have a bad tenant that has gotten all the way to the bailiff stage; and they have done this before–how can I warn other landlords ?

Jason September 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

How does one go about proving that there were no bedbugs before a certain tenant moved in? Should I have my pest control guy do a suite-by-suite inspection and get written verification that they are bug free?

Marv October 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Well Mr. Schmidt, also my wife’s maiden name, no one else has commented so allow me. There are two ways that I know of in which you can warn other landlords of this high risk tenant.
1. I trust that he has been late with rent, is behind in rent etc.? If you are a TVS member which I hope you are, if not sign up at no cost, then log into the website and go to Report Tenant Pay Habits in the light blue bar to the right of Operating Instructions. You can report late payments and non payment of rent.
2. If the high risk tenant owes you money you can turn the debt over to a collections agency who will pursue that debt, if unsuccessful they can report that debt as a public record to the major credit bureaus, chances are he already has a bad credit rating but this will add to it. Did you screen this Individual? And if so can you tell us where he went off the rails so to speak? Generally Individuals with good credit scores are good tenants, please note that I said generally. Hope this helps.

Marv October 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Jason, you answered your own question. An inspection by a pest control expert on bed bugs and written certification declaring the suite clean would certainly help where there is a dispute. You can use this inspection certificate to alleviate the fears of new applicant moving in and/or as an advertising feature, declaring that the suite is certified bed bug free. Also if that becomes an issue in the future, you know who to blame, or send the bill to.

I have yet to see an AD declaring a rental suite certified bed bug free, has anyone tried it? It will either garner a lot of attention or perhaps none at all. I would like to hear from the Landlord/Property Manager who tries it.

Marv October 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Hi Jason, you answered your own question. An inspection by a pest control expert on bed bugs and written certification declaring the suite clean would certainly help where there is a dispute. You can use this inspection certificate to alleviate the fears of a new applicant moving in and/or as an advertisement, declaring that the suite is certified bed bug free. Also if that becomes an issue in the future, you know who to blame, or send the bill to.

I have yet to see an AD declaring a rental suite certified bed bug free, has anyone tried it? It will either garner a lot of attention or perhaps none at all. I would like to hear from the Landlord/Property Manager who tries it…successfully.

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