Increase in Bed Bugs in Baltimore County Apartments

Bed bug reports in Baltimore County apartment complexes are increasing.  Within the last several weeks, we have received a high number of phone calls from tenants in multi-unit apartment complexes dealing with apartment bed bug infestations.  These recent calls have primarily been from the Middle River and Dundalk area.  The problems that potential clients are calling us with remain the same no matter what area or county of Maryland they call from:

Q. Can the landlord make me pay for the extermination treatment?

A. Landlords and owners, not tenants, are often required to pay for bed bug treatments unless the tenant has been negligent.  If all of a sudden bed bugs start to show up in your apartment, and you have done nothing wrong, it is not your fault.  The Baltimore County Code Inspector can sometimes be of assistance in these situations – see below.

Q. Does the landlord have to pay for a hotel while my apartment is treated?

A. The short answer is, it depends.  It is often a grey area, as many state and county statutes do not address it. Some state and and county statues do require the landlord provide a safe substitute housing arrangement.  One thing to be sure of, is that if the landlord offers to pay for a hotel, make sure to get the promise in a letter or email.  Recently, one of our clients was promised reimbursement for hotel and food expenses while her apartment was being treated (she had been deceived into moving into an infested apartment).  After she submitted the receipts for reimbursement, the property manager refused to pay. We sued, and will seek to recover those expenses as well as compensation for her other injuries.

Q. What can I do about this bed bug infestation? Can I sue?

Yes, absolutely. We have sued several Baltimore County apartment complexes, and in other Maryland counties as well, for leasing bed bug infested apartments to tenants, and for failing to treat an ongoing infestation. Our clients have been pleased with the results, which are almost always confidential.

Q. What should I do right now? A lawsuit will take months!

We suggest calling the Baltimore County Code Inspector.  The phone number is 410-887-3351.  Our clients’ experience with the Baltimore County Code Inspector’s office has been very positive.  A Code Inspector often responds to complaints within 48 hours, and lets the property manager know that the County is now involved.  The Inspector will often require the property manager or owner to hire a licensed pest control company, which is a step in the right direction towards resolving an infestation.

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