Recent press reports have highlighted the difficulties faced by council and housing association tenants when dealing with bed bug infestations at home. Some have been forced to temporarily abandon their properties for weeks on end, while still paying rent, utility bills and council tax, despite their homes being uninhabitable. Local councils and housing associations have been criticised for their failure to help tenants deal with bed bug infestations quickly and effectively. Pest control treatments to eradicate bed bugs are the landlord’s responsibility, and they must engage contractors to fumigate infested properties at the earliest opportunity once the issue is reported to them.
One of the problems tenants face with bed bug infestations is the fact that the tiny insects are tough and resilient, and adept at concealing themselves, reproducing (they can breed all year round) and surviving, meaning eradication methods need to be efficient and thorough to ensure a property is completely bed bug free. Bed bugs can live in clothing, mattresses, linen, bed frames, furniture and many other concealed locations, only emerging at night to look for food, making them difficult to identify. Bed bugs can also be easily transported from room to room and house to house, and a single home infestation can therefore quickly result in neighbouring properties becoming infested. This is another reason why local councils and housing associations need to act as quickly as possible once they are made aware of a bed bug infestation.
Both local council and housing association tenants have the legal right to sue their landlord for bed bug bites, any physical repercussions, the associated stress and trauma, and the financial costs of an infestation, including the possible expense of temporary relocation while the problem is dealt with. Sometimes a property is infested with bed bugs before a tenant moves in, but more often landlords fail to address infestations reported to them by tenants within a reasonable time frame, leaving them legally responsible for the negative consequences.
Our firm has particular expertise in suing for bed bug bites, and has successfully represented hundreds of clients in these specialist claims over the years. You can find out more on these pages: