The Unfair Burden of Bed Bug Policies?
by Marissa Henderson
September 6, 2019
Although not known to carry disease, bed bugs cause problems that range from medical and psychological to social and economic. Because bed bug populations have boomed in the last decade, many state governments have jumped in to help regulate. But who benefits and who is burdened by bed bug legislation?
Twenty-three states have enacted bed bug specific legislation with many of the policies centered around mandatory disclosure. Disclosure policies force landlords to notify all tenants and prospective tenants of current or past bed bug infestations. For renters, these disclosure policies provide protection and peace of mind. For communities, disclosure provides a quarantine where infected apartment complexes become undesirable for a time, effectively limiting the spread of an outbreak. For landlords, disclosure means vacant apartments and loss of income... and unfortunately, the long-lasting stigma of a scarlet letter.
Many landlords in bedbug disclosure states believe the policy places too heavy a burden on them, when often it is carelessness of a tenant that brought on an infestation. Shopping second hand, ignoring bites, or failing to report signs of bedbugs are all potential tenant-caused problems that might lead to a bed bug infestation in an apartment complex.
It’s not all doom and gloom
But according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, landlords need not worry. The study demonstrates that although over the short term (within 5 years), landlords do suffer modest increases in cost, in the long term, reductions of infestation lead, on average, to savings. Read the full analysis here. (Sherrie Xie, et. al., (2019) Dynamics of Bed Bug Infestations and Control Under Disclosure Policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(13), Retrieved from https://www.pnas.org/content/116/13/6473.)
Of course, the cheapest solution for all is prevention and a responsive plan to quickly stop the spread of bed bugs if one is found. If you are a landlord, find out how owning your own GreenTech Heat treatment equipment might be the most cost-effective option for you. Our website has more information than we can share in any other manner. Call us at 888-699-3944 for answers to any specific questions you might have.