Don’t let the bed bugs bite — it’s illegal!

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

It’s official. Connecticut has a bed bug law. Or an anti-bed bug law. Or a bed bug extermination law. Or something like that.

On October 1, the new law, officially known as An Act Concerning The Rights And Responsibilities Of Landlords And Tenants Regarding The Treatment Of Bed Bug Infestations, took effect.

It sounds self-explanatory, right? Well in one sense, it is. But then again, nothing is really simple when lawmakers/politicians get involved. I mean in all honesty, it shouldn’t take half a page just to summarize a law.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But in this case, it does. Go figure.

Luckily, it won’t take me nearly that long to get to the point. So here’s the deal:

If you own certain types of rental units specified by law, there are certain things you are now legally obligated to do in the event of a potential or actual bed bug infestation. Some are fairly obvious. For example, you must give your tenants advance notice when you are going to inspect the premises or have it treated. You must also pay for the inspection and any necessary treatment. You must get help for any tenants that are physically unable to “comply with preparation for inspection or treatment procedures.”

As an owner of an applicable rental property in Connecticut, you are prohibited from renting it if you “know or reasonably suspect it is infested.” You must also advise current tenants about infestations, and provide requested information about recent bed bug inspections to prospective tenants.

As the landlord, how you decide to get rid of the bed bugs is up to you. You can do it yourself or you can hire a “pest elimination specialist” do it for you.

Under the new law, tenants have certain responsibilities as well. These include:

  • Advising the landlord about potential or actual bed bug infestations
  • Providing access to the dwelling
  • Assuming any costs of preparing the dwelling for inspection/treatment
  • Following instructions regarding the elimination or control of the infestation; or paying “additional costs arising from noncompliance”
  • Not removing infested material from the premises without permission

The act also lists “remedies”  for landlords and tenants who don’t play by the rules. These include but are not restricted to a $250 fine for “non-compliant landlords” and potential eviction for uncooperative tenants.

Some Interesting Facts About Bed Bugs

Interestingly, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes, bed bugs do not carry disease or pose “serious medical threat” to most people. And contrary to popular belief, their presence is not necessarily indicative of an unclean environment — although they do like to hide in clutter.

From what I understand, they also like to travel and can be found throughout the world.

Unfortunately they love to bite us while we sleep — prompting our desire to eradicate them from our lives. Aside from that, they seem to be annoying but relatively harmless creatures.

And now that we know what to do about them, I have another suggestion for my state legislators. How about a law governing the elimination of stink bugs?

Just saying…

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