Owning an apartment building can come with a variety of headaches. Hot water heaters can go bad and rupture, air conditioning and heating units can go out. Those issues are just the tip of the iceberg. A new problem has emerged, which is making life even more difficult for apartment landlords and their tenants. What issue is causing so much trouble? Two words: bed bugs.
Bed Bug Lawsuits for How Much Money??!!
Bed bugs have become a serious issue in the rental world, and they will likely get worse before they get better. A recent headline caught many apartment landlords’ attention: “Tenants File $10 Million Lawsuit Due to Bed Bugs and Other Apartment Problems.” Believe it or not, that is a real headline. If you’re an apartment landlord or property owner, this is a scary concept and one that should definitely get your attention.
Back in December of 2011, tenants of the Cordova Estates Apartments in Rancho Cordova, California said they had reached their breaking point with bed bugs and filed a $10 million lawsuit. The price tag might seem surreal, until further reading shows that the suit didn’t involve one or two tenants, but a whopping 97! This also underscores how serious the problem of bed bugs currently is in the rental housing community. Undetected and unaddressed bed bugs can spread quickly when left unchecked.
A Wide Range of Real Estate Woes
As though this lawsuit isn’t enough to get the attention of landlords and rental companies everywhere, there are other lawsuits as well. For example, a jury in Annapolis, Maryland recently awarded a renter $800,000 over a bed bug infestation, and it took the jury a mere 15 minutes to reach their decision. According to the Baltimore Sun, the bed bug victim in question, Faika Shaaban, developed a severe rash as soon as she moved into the apartment building.
Lawyer Tom Campbell told the Baltimore Sun, “You are going to see a rapid growth of bedbug claims over the next decade. There are enough lawyers who are getting trained so that people will be able to find lawyers, so that people will find a way to get relief.” You can be sure that apartment building owners and large rental companies are paying close attention to developments of this nature. The bottom line is that apartment building owners are not the only ones that may end up having a bite taken out of them!
Additional research about the severity of bed bugs and lawsuits has been compiled and shared at Bedbugs.org. They’ve outlined some of the biggest cases to date as well as other information on the topic of bed bug infestations in apartments and homes. They cite several important cases including cases in Staten Island, NY, Nashville, Virginia Beach, VA and a case at Portland State University. The case at Portland State University is interesting, as it underscores the fact that the issue of bed bugs isn’t just an issue for apartment building landlords, but it is one that also impacts universities and colleges as well due to student housing.
In short, apartment building owners, hotels and even universities and colleges need to be aware of this growing problem and develop strategies for dealing with bed bugs. Since a bed bug infestation can dramatically and negatively impact many people, it is a problem that isn’t easily swept under the rug. In the case of bed bugs, it is highly prudent for apartment building owners, hotels, universities and colleges to take preventative measures well in advance of a problem. Failure to do so could be highly costly and problematic. Be proactive by contacting a bed bug specialist who can assist you in detecting and treating bed bugs before bed bug lawsuits become an issue.