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Tenants win bedbug protections in new law

Tenants throughout California received another win in with strong legislation protections recently. According to a new state law that took effect on July 1, landlords are now required to inform tenants of instances of bedbugs. It also offers guidelines for how tenants should report infestations to landlords. The law does not take effect for existing leases until Jan. 1, 2018.

Bedbugs are a particularly troublesome pest because they can easily move between multiple apartments or units, so they must be addressed quickly to avoid further trouble. Under the new law, landlords may not rent any unit that actively contains a bedbug infestation. However, it does not require landlords to perform bedbug inspections on units if no bedbugs have been sighted there, or if no tenants have reported them.

If a tenant complains about bedbugs, however, the law is oddly silent on exactly how a landlord must respond. In most cases, it is reasonable to assume that California's "implied warranty of habitability" protections for tenants provide reasonable protection to the tenant to compel the landlord to address the issue. Should the landlord have an exterminator examine the property, he or she is required to disclose the results of the examination to the tenants within two days of receiving those results. If a landlord proceeds with some form of bedbug remedy, tenants are required to cooperate with the treatment.

If you believe that your landlord is not properly addressing a bedbug issue, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you fight for fair treatment. With proper guidance, you can stand up for your rights and the rights of tenants throughout state.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "New California law aims to stop spread of bedbugs," Kathleen Pender, Aug. 26, 2017

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