Pest infestations are a common issue at rental properties.Bed bugs are one of the newest epidemics that landlords and tenants are dealing with. The state of Arizona has put laws in place that aim to stop the spread of these pests. Learn what landlords and tenants are responsible for under the law.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. At their largest, they are no more than one-quarter of an inch. According to Arizona state law, bed bugs and their eggs, are classified as an insect in the genus “cimex.”
Why Are Bed Bugs a Problem?
Bed bugs have become a big issue for a number of reasons.
- Size: Unlike other pests, such as a roach or a mouse, bed bugs are extremely small. Due to their size, they can be difficult to spot. A tenant may not know he or she has a problem with bed bugs until the infestation has spread.
- Lifespan: An interesting fact about bed bugs is that they can feast on blood and can then survive an entire year without another meal.This is one of the reasons it can be so difficult to get rid of them.
- Mobile: Since bed bugs are so tiny, they are difficult to spot. They can easily climb into a purse or onto clothing and be brought back to a home without being seen.
- Indistinct Bites: People react differently to bed bug bites. Some people have no reaction when bitten, while others quickly develop red welts. Even in those that develop the red welts, it can be hard to distinguish the bite from the bites of other insects, such as a mosquito or spider.
- Ineffective Treatment: Bug bombs are usually not the best way to treat a bed bug infestation. It often causes the bugs to spread out. In addition to not using the proper treatments to kill the bugs, many landlords and tenants do not follow the proper steps to keep them from spreading. Tenants should wash all fabric in the hottest setting possible and vacuum frequently, while landlords should never let new tenants move into a unit with a known infestation.
What Does Arizona's Bed Bug Law Apply To?
In Arizona, the rights of landlords and tenants to bed bug control, are spelled out in the statute. However, the law only applies to bed bug infestations.
How Does Arizona Define an Infestation?
According to Arizona statute, an infestation is defined by the presence of bed bugs in such numbers that it affects the health and safety of the tenants and their guests.
Landlord’s Responsibilities in a Bed Bug Infestation
If there is a known bed bug infestation at the rental property, a landlord has two responsibilities:
The landlord is responsible for alerting current and prospective tenants of this infestation. The landlord must also provide some sort of educational material on bed bugs which could be one of the following:
- Steps that can be taken to prevent and control bed bugs.
- Information about the bed bugs themselves, including their physical appearance.
- Common risk factors for attracting bed bugs.
- Information about bed bugs from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Information about bed bugs from other federal, state or local health agencies.
- Information about bed bugs provided by a non-profit housing organization.
- Information about bed bugs that have been compiled by the landlord himself.
Prevent New Move-Ins:
Under Arizona’s statute, a landlord cannot sign a lease agreement with a new tenant allowing the tenant to move into a unit which has an existing and known bed bug infestation.
Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities in Bed Bug Infestation
In Arizona, when dealing with bed bug infestations, a tenant has two rights and responsibilities:
Do Not Move In:
If a tenant knows of an existing bed bug infestation, the tenant is responsible for not moving any of his belongings into the unit.
Alert Landlord of Infestation:
If a tenant discovers that there is a bed bug infestation in their unit, they are responsible for immediately alerting the landlord of the infestation. They can either alert the landlord of this infestation electronically or in writing.
Is Anyone Excluded From Arizona’s Law on Bed Bug Control?
Yes. Landlords and tenants of single-family residences are excluded from adhering to Arizona’s statute on bed bug control.