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Bed bugs have made an unwelcome comeback in Long Beach and across Southern California, and in 2017, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that the agency reviewed a whopping 1,494 bed bug complaints during the previous year. In fact, according to reports, Los Angeles is the sixth worst metro area for bed bugs in the country, behind Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and Columbus, Ohio. If you have suffered bed bug bites and other losses due to the failure of your landlord or property owner to treat a bed bug problem and maintain a sanitary living environment, you may have grounds to file a claim for financial compensation. Contact our Long Beach bed bug infestation lawyers at DAG Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Bed bugs appear to be a particularly big problem in Long Beach and the surrounding areas, and that means landlords and property owners in Long Beach must be extra vigilant in maintaining a clean living environment and watching for signs of a bed bug infestation. When a California landlord or property owner rents an apartment to a tenant, he or she is legally obligated to ensure that the apartment is sanitary and habitable, or fit to live in, and that means free of bed bugs and other insect infestations. Property owners are also legally obligated to seek effective treatment when an infestation occurs, regardless of their financial ability to do so. If your Long Beach landlord fails to notify you about or successfully treat a bed bug infestation in your apartment complex, you may have the right to sue for damages caused by his or her reckless disregard for your health and safety. With our knowledgeable bed bug infestation attorneys on your side, you can hold your landlord or property owner responsible for your bed bug bites and other injuries.
Once widespread in the early part of the 1900s, bed bugs have been virtually nonexistent for nearly a century. Today, they seem to be everywhere. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bed bugs can be found in apartment complexes, houses, buses, cars, trains, college dormitories and cruise ships, among other places, usually within an eight-foot perimeter of where people sleep. Bed bugs feed on human blood and prefer to hide in tiny crevices in mattresses, bed frames and box springs, coming out to feed at night and leaving you with a slightly swollen and red bite mark similar to a mosquito or flea bite. Bed bug bites tend to be itchy and noticeable after a few days, but you may not realize you’re being bit at the time, as the bugs inject an anesthetic and anticoagulant that makes their bites painless. If you have a bed bug infestation in your apartment complex, you may notice the tiny bugs in the folds of your mattresses or sheets, or rusty-colored blood spots on your bed linens.
Bed bugs aren’t considered dangerous and they don’t transmit any diseases, but they are incredibly difficult to eradicate once they decide to make your apartment complex their new home. When insecticide is used to combat a bed bug problem, two or three treatments are typically required, while more expensive heat treatments can take care of an infestation in one visit, though this type of treatment can take most of the day. Either way, you may need to spend the night in a hotel while your apartment is treated, or even longer, if the infestation persists.
When there are signs of bed bugs in your apartment complex, you typically need to have an exterminator spray your apartment. But before an exterminator even sets foot in the door, there are several things you must do first, including stripping your beds of sheets and blankets, emptying your closets and dressers, emptying all of your shelves, washing and drying your clothes and sealing them in plastic bags, and moving everything else into the bathroom or kitchen. You may end up needing to dispose of clothing, furniture and anything else that makes a good hiding place for bed bugs. And even with all this preparation and treatment, you may still find evidence of bed bugs in your apartment, which means additional treatment may be required.
Your Long Beach landlord owes a legal duty to provide you with a sanitary living environment free of bed bugs, and when this legal duty is violated, you may be able to file a bed bug injury claim. The majority of bed bug claims in Long Beach are based on negligence, with victims of infestations accusing landlords or property management companies of breach of contract and breach of warranty of habitability. In order to prove negligence in a Long Beach bed bug infestation, you must show that:
In addition to physical bites, there are a number of other adverse consequences you may experience when you find bed bugs in your apartment complex, including extreme anxiety, humiliation and distress, accompanied by significant discomfort and weeks or even months of sleepless nights. If you are forced to stay in a hotel while your apartment is treated, or if you have to move to a new apartment or buy new furniture, clothing or bedding, you may also face a significant financial burden on top of everything else.
Even when property managers take the proper steps to treat a bed bug infestation, the necessary preparation is difficult and disruptive for tenants and it doesn’t always work. Unfortunately, some property managers threaten residents with eviction if they complain about bed bugs or fail to comply with the necessary preparations for treatment. According to one report from 2017, seniors living in a subsidized housing complex in Long Beach accused property management of threatening residents with eviction for noncompliance when they were unable to make the proper preparations for bed bug extermination.
Bed bugs are a growing problem in the United States, and appear to be more of an issue in densely populated cities like Long Beach than in sparsely populated ones, largely because they have more apartment complex units and more people living close together. When property owners are vigilant in their duty to maintain a sanitary living environment, a bed bug infestation can be controlled fairly quickly. When they aren’t, you may be able to file a lawsuit for negligence, violation of California health and safety codes, and breach of implied warranty of habitability. If you have suffered physical, emotional and financial injuries resulting from a bed bug infestation in your Long Beach apartment complex, you may be able to hold the owner or manager of your apartment complex liable for damages. Contact our experienced attorneys at DAG Law Firm today to discuss your legal options.
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