Will we have the itch?
June 15, 2010 3:50 AM   Subscribe

We've already agreed to move in to a new apartment in two weeks, but we've received some insider information that the unit had bedbugs. What should we do?

The apartment is in the same building that we're currently in, but on a different floor. We've never had a problem with any pests in this building before, and the management company has a pretty good reputation. However, there has been some information passed to us by a former employee that the previous tenant was evicted, and when they cleared the apartment of his stuff they found bedbugs.

They have completely re-done the apartment and, I'm assuming, treated the problem. But how can I be sure of that before I move my stuff in? Location is Toronto, Canada.
posted by kaudio to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would say to the management company that you heard from another tenant in the building that the apartment had bedbugs, and you would like:

a) the opportunity to inspect the apartment before you move in with a representative of the management company present


b) a written undertaking from the management company that in the event that bedbugs are discovered before moving in, your contract will be null and void and if they appear after moving in, you will expect compensation to replace your goods, fumigation costs to be met and accomodation to be provided while the place is treated.

Your management company has an obligation to provide a dwelling in good repair and free from vermin as part of your tenancy agreement - if they don't, the agreement is null and void.

There's a slim chance that the ex-employee is just out to make trouble for his former employer, so don't mention their name, but you need to contract the management company as a first step and secure the two things above.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:06 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sorry, contact, not contract.

Oh, and here's a guide to figuring out if you have bedbugs.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:08 AM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: I wouldn't move into a place with this rumor, and I wouldn't take the landlord's word for it. The hell you will go through and the disruption to your life is the kind of thing that there really is no financial compensation for.

There are dogs that can detect bedbugs now. I'd find one and pay for it myself.

A better web site is http://bedbugger.com/.
posted by micawber at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: If they had the apartment treated, there should be a receipt, or some documentation. Make sure you see it before you move in.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 AM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: Bedbugs are a horrible scourge, but they can be killed. The best time to do this is when the apartment is empty. They should have the apartment professionally treated.

Contact Legal Aid in your area, or the State Attorney General to find out what your rights are. You can bet the management company knows.
posted by theora55 at 7:02 AM on June 15, 2010

Response by poster: I spoke to the management, who we have a good relationship with because we are already tenants of the building. We have been really pleased with how fast and efficiently they have responded to problems in the past... they're definitely not slumlords by any stretch. They told us that they treated the empty apartment 4 times in the last 6 weeks, and they were given the "all-clear" by their PCO before they showed it to me.

However, I will be getting a canine inspection today, and they have agreed that the move-in date will be subject to an "all-clear" from my inspector.

Thanks for all the great advice!
posted by kaudio at 7:16 AM on June 15, 2010

You not only need to treat the apartment, but the ones around it on all sides. Bedbugs can go through walls, even brick walls (which is why my rowhouse has another infestation every 6-12 months).

bedbugger.com is a great resource.
posted by QIbHom at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2010

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