New Arizona Bedbug Law Will Require Shared Responsibility For Landlords and Tenants

Posted by Teresa on February 9, 2011 under Housing Trends | icon: commentBe the First to Comment, tenant screeningArizona state lawmakers have approved to send to the full state Senate a new law requiring landlords and tenants to share responsibility for bedbugs in rental units. Here’s how the proposed law shakes out:

Rental property owners will be required to:

  • Keep their units free of bedbugs.
  • Provide tenants a copy of the law, once passed, as well as with educational materials on bedbugs, including prevention and control measures.
  • Arrange for a licensed pest control company to inspect a unit within seven business days of a possible bedbug problem.
  • Start the process of mitigating the bedbugs in the rental unit within seven days of finding evidence of infestation.

Tenants are responsible for:

  • Notifying landlords in writing or via electronic document of infestations.
  • Providing access to their units for inspection and bedbug treatment.
  • Complying with the bedbug mitigation protocol established by the pest control company is required. This includes pre- and post-treatment procedures, temporary evacuation of the unit and notifying within three days of recurrence.

Additional Requirements:

  • Landlords are prohibited from knowingly leasing a bedbug-infested rental unit.
  • Tenants are prohibited from moving bedbug infested materials into a rental unit.
  • Only licensed pest control applicators would be allowed to treat bedbugs in multifamily housing.
  • Tenants must receive written notification of mitigation treatment three business days or more before it begins.

Perhaps most important is the allocation of financial responsibility. According to the bill, while the landlord is responsible for pest control expenses when tenants comply with their obligations, the responsibility falls to a tenant if they fail to comply. In this case, not only are tenants responsible for mitigating the problem in their own unit, but also any surrounding units that become infested due to non-compliance.
This bill is one of the first we’ve seen that tackles the bedbug problem in rental units. And, it seems to be pretty fair to landlords. What do you think?

We’ll follow the bill as it progresses through the Arizona state Senate.