After nearly half a century of inactivity in the United States, bed bugs have staged an unwelcome comeback over the past couple of decades, and Southern California has seen the worst of it. In fact, in a 2017 survey conducted by Orkin, the Los Angeles area – made up of L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties – ranked sixth in the nation’s worst metro areas for bedbugs. There are strict laws in California that require landlords and property owners to maintain a safe and sanitary living environment for tenants, and under California’s “implied warranty of habitability” law, any landlord who fails to do so is in violation of his legal duty and can be held liable for damages. If you are living in an apartment in Orange County that is infested with bed bugs, contact our tenants’ rights lawyers at DAG Law Firm today for a free consultation. You may have grounds to sue your landlord for any injuries or losses you incurred as a result of the bed bug infestation, and our knowledgeable attorneys can help.
Affordable Orange County Bed Bug Infestation Attorney
As a tenant in California, you have certain important rights, and that includes your right to a habitable living environment free of bed bugs and other pests. With tightly-packed apartment complexes built close together, bed bug infestations can easily spread from unit to unit, making them incredibly difficult to eradicate. But that doesn’t excuse landlords and property owners from their implied warranty of habitability, which is implicit in all residential rental agreements. Standing up to your landlord and demanding a sanitary living environment may seem like a no-brainer for most of us, but fear of eviction or retaliation keeps many tenants from doing so. Our attorneys at DAG Law Firm are committed to protecting the rights of tenants throughout Orange County, and will work tirelessly to help you recover the compensation you deserve from your landlord.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals, though they prefer human blood. They are called bed bugs because of their preferred habitat in the tiny crevices of mattresses, box springs and bed frames, where they will hide until between midnight and 5am, when they come out to feed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bed bugs can be found almost anywhere their host can live, most often in apartment complexes, houses and college dormitories, but also on buses, trains and cruise ships. Bed bugs aren’t considered dangerous, but if you have a bed bug infestation, you may find red, itchy bite marks all over your body, and if you have an allergic reaction to the bites you may require medical attention. If you believe your apartment is infested with bed bugs, the most obvious signs to watch out for are bites that occur while you are sleeping. If this happens, you should examine your mattress for bed bugs and signs of bed bug activity, including the appearance of any rust-colored blood spots on your bed linens.
Damages Resulting from a Bed Bug Infestation in Orange County
Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pest problems to eliminate and a bed bug infestation in an apartment complex typically requires professional extermination, which can be extremely disruptive for tenants. If your apartment is being treated for bed bugs, you will likely have to prepare by stripping your beds of sheets and blankets, emptying your closets and dressers, clearing out all of your shelves, washing and drying your clothes and sealing them in plastic bags, and moving all of your other belongings into the bathroom or kitchen. In some cases of bed bug infestations, tenants may have to dispose of their furniture, clothing and other possessions to fully eradicate the bugs, which can result in significant financial losses. If the property owner or landlord refuses to treat the infestation, you may have to move to a new apartment or pay for the treatment yourself if you decide to stay.
Determining Liability in a Bed Bug Infestation
Hotel operators and owners of apartment complexes owe guests and tenants a duty of care that includes providing a living environment that is sanitary, habitable and devoid of any infestations. Unfortunately, many property owners and landlords fail to properly inspect for bed bugs between tenants, or if they become aware of an infestation, fail to take the proper steps to rid the property of bed bugs, which is a violation of their legal duty. The majority of bed bug infestation claims in Orange County are based on negligence, with victims accusing their landlords or property owners of breach of warranty of habitability and breach of contract. In order to prove negligence in an Orange County bed bug infestation claim, you must prove that:
- The property owner or landlord owed a duty of care to protect you and other tenants from an infestation;
- The property owner or landlord breached this duty by failing to provide a habitable dwelling or by failing to notify tenants of an infestation; and
- This breach caused your family to suffer bed bug bites and other damages.
Seeking Compensation for an Apartment Complex Bed Bug Infestation
A bed bug infestation in your apartment complex is a violation of your property owner’s duty to provide habitable housing, and compensation is available to families adversely affected by bed bug infestations. In October 2017, a San Bernardino County Superior Court jury awarded $546,000 in damages to a family that complained of bed bug bites during a 2013 stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga, and in April 2018, an Inglewood family was awarded $1.6 million in damages in a lawsuit brought against Amusement Six Apartment LLC for a bed bug infestation that caused their son lasting injuries.
If you and your loved ones have suffered bed bug bites from an infestation in your apartment complex, and your landlord has failed to resolve the infestation in a timely manner, you may be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills and any health problems that were caused by the infestation. You may also be entitled to compensation for any emotional distress you suffered as a result of the infestation, as well as financial losses, which may include damage to your personal property, and the cost of a hotel stay or moving to a new apartment, among other damages.
Free Bed Bug Infestation Consultation in Orange County
Bed bugs are a terrible, terrifying pest and not only can a bed bug infestation in your apartment complex cause you health problems and other physical injuries, it can result in lasting anxiety, distress and humiliation and cost you months of sleepless nights. If your landlord or property owner failed to notify you about a bed bug infestation in your apartment complex, or ignored your request for bed bug treatment, you may be able to sue them for damages. There have already been many lawsuits filed against hotel owners and landlords in California and across the country for physical, emotional and financial harm caused by bed bug infestations. Our bed bug infestation attorneys at DAG Law Firm specialize in protecting the rights of individuals who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of another person or party and will help you pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for your losses.