Renting a home with bugs

Renting a home has many advantages and for busy people it is great not to have to worry about the a/c breaking down, plumbing leaks or many other little pleasures that come with ownership. In a perfect world when a problem arises for a renter it’s as simple as a phone call to the landlord or owner and they come out to fix it. The key words are ‘perfect world.’

Is pest control on that list?

For years I have done service for many owners who rent out their homes but I have learned not to count on the revenue for any length of time. The landlords in many of these instances has either battled the problem himself with bug bombs and store bought ‘rid a bug’ sprays or he’s chosen the more popular route of ignoring the problem and shifting the blame. In either case when the problem has proven too much I get the call and what’s expected is a miracle service to wipe out the problem in one fell swoop. Paying for a professional eats into the profit of the monthly rent and that’s not very motivating for the average landlord so pest infestations are rarely on the same par as a faulty septic or a leaking roof.

The other side

They say that there are two sides to every coin and nothing could be truer in these situations. It may sound as if I’m bashing the landlord but here’s the other side I see quite often. Sometimes tenants DO bring the bugs in with there belongings and it can be quite obvious or just something no one could have seen coming. Things left in storage for any length of time can easily get infested and brought right in along with the boxes. Bed bugs, german roaches and even mice are famous for this kind of hitch hiking. While other times the new residents had the same problems at their old home and know full well they carried them in and simply want free service.

The remedy

Since I’m pretty sure my technicians didn’t put the bugs there and because the nature of pest control is a bit slower than most would like a maintenance service is almost always needed. The sticking point is always who will pay? I’m not a lawyer by any means but every once in awhile I get to catch one of those judge shows on TV. Surprising enough they have many cases just like this and it comes down to who has the better proof to establish the condition of the place on the day of move in. Pictures say a thousand words and in these proceedings it can also save you a thousand dollars.(plus court cost) Bug service receipts are nice and a affidavit even better but I saw one case where it was not enough to say what the condition was on the day they moved in. Pictures would definitely solve that.

Your rights

Recently I came across a great article that explained the rights that a tenant has as well as the owner. Rick Steinau of has 30 years or so in the business and put it together very well. It’s obvious he’s had similar experiences and his web site is filled with a lot of other great information as well.

If you are unfortunately in this predicament you’d be wise to know where you stand and just what you are entitled to. Nothings worse than having to live with bugs except maybe the sting of having to pay for them if it’s not your doing. Just try to remember that the bug man is only there to help and it may take even the best efforts some time to work depending on the bug. They say TV adds 10 pounds to you anyway so rather than go the Judge Judy route hopefully we can all work this out.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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