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  • Buy-to-Let

    Tenant complaining of bed bugs. Anyone have experience of this?

    My tenants had to chuck out their own bed and mattress due to the level of infestation. My places are unfurnished. They looked to me to replace them due to the bedbugs. I declined. Does anyone know in these circumstances whether contents insurance would normally cover the cost of replacing such items? 

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Hi

    I would say that insurance companies will only look at it if it is accidental damage.  

    They are not going to cover damage caused by the lifestyle of tenants.

    and insurance companies have a habit of finding a way  of not paying claims.

    But thats a whole other story 

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    Also as far as I know:

    Bed bugs do not drink – they get water from the damp air. Condensation is the main cause of dampness in sheet, pillows and bedding.

    So sorting out issues with ventilation may be important in stopping them coming back as well as making the property a nicer place to live in.

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    Hi Max and everyone. Interesting reading. I've had some of the experiences you refer to and can vouch for the long treatment cycle - but our contractor cost much more.

    Another had I wear is that I'm a Treasurer for a small local London based Housing Association and bed-bugs were a particular bug-bear in one of the HMO we let.  The staff knew costs was an issue but did not know what to do. I was getting fed up of signing a series of £300+ authorisations for each set of 3 treatments - particularly as margins on each property is tight. I decided to find out more and to visit the property.

    The source of the problem was from the room of a young person who appeared to be immune to the bites...he claimed he did not have a problem. Apparently his room was full of the critters!! The pest control officer was amazed anyone could function in his room with the level of infestation.  The complaints came from other residents.  I visited the property when soon after yet another treatment, we had to retreat the property again.  I discovered that the source room occupant had not cooperated with all the treatment cycles. Also, I was surprised at how big the bugs are - on lifting the carpet edges in another room that they had again migrated into.  So if you enquiry concerns the identification of the cause of your tenant's bites...it might be possible to collect a sample for Environmental Health Dept to analyse - at no additional cost.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short!  I realised that lessons were not being learnt by the HA's tenants and so I authorised staff to send a warning letter that in order to ensure a thorough defestation there would be entry into every room with or without their cooperation and that knowing that they had to hot wash / freeze items before returning them to their rooms that they would have to contribute towards the cost of future defestation. Tenants were also reminded about their tenancy agreements regarding allowing others to stay in their rooms and to not bring used mattresses into the property (we supply and change all bedding and re-useable hard furnishing such as wardrobes are cleaned between young tenants).

    Well it must be approaching nearly a year now and I haven't had to authorise payment for any similar invoices - so something different is being done by the tenants...I hope!

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    Is there any kind of preventative action one can take to prevent an infestation?  I own an SA and we have a quick change over of guests.  I assume it would just take one person to infest the place.

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    A steam cleaner is very useful as it kills the BB and eggs in cracks and crevices.

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    According to the RLA, bed bugs are on the rise!

    They have produced this helpful guide on who is responsible and how to deal with the problem:

    Bed bugs - advice for landlords

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    I had a nightmare tenant who brought back a suitcase full from his holiday in Thailand and then blamed me for it.

    I bought loads of killer from this site https://www.cimexine.com . I stripped the bed and threw the bedding away.  I then put a mask on and sprayed every crevice in the mattress especially the edges.   I also sprayed any soft furnishings and the carpet.

    I did this twice.

    Then I bought the fully enclosed anti bed bug mattress protectors from the same site.  Not cheap but they do the job.  I now put one on all of my mattresses to either keep the bugs in so that they eventually die,  or keep the bugs out of the mattress should any tenant bring them into the room accidentally.

    Fingers crossed,  two years later I have not had a problem. 

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