How Can You Tell If You Have Bed Bugs in a New Apartment: Avoiding Unwanted Roommates

Searching for a new apartment is a time of excitement and possibility. But how can you tell if you have bed bugs in the apartment you are considering? According to Jeff Lipman, an industry expert and attorney who represents tenants in bed bug litigation, being proactive and vigilant about this issue from the get-go can end up saving you a great deal of time and hassle later.

Carefully Inspect the Area

Your first line of defense when seeking to determine if your potential apartment is already home to bed bugs is to inspect the apartment yourself. Pay particular attention to the baseboards and crevices in the carpeting. You are looking for black fecal staining that smears when wiped, shed casings, and of course, bed bugs. It is also possible that bed bugs inhabit the interiors of the walls or reside in neighboring units. If you have access to a bed bug sniffing canine or a professional inspector, those are both excellent resources to absolutely ensure that you are not moving into an inhospitable environment.

Ask Specific Questions

When you are with the leasing agent, inquire about the specifics of the apartment manager’s plan for the inspection and treatment of bed bugs. A good landlord will have a solid inspection plan written by a pest management specialist that outlines how often the units are inspected and what the treatment protocol will be in the case of an infestation. It is also important that the contracted pest management operators have specific experience and training with handling bed bugs.

Consider Responses

When discussing bed bugs with a leasing agent or apartment manager, you should pay careful attention to the responses you receive. Quality managers are forthcoming about the possibility of bed bugs and the measures that the management team already has in place to respond to this ubiquitous problem. If the agent or manager claims that they have never had bed bugs and never will, you should view this as a red flag. Bed bugs are an equal opportunity pest that will invariably affect all kinds of properties, especially multi-unit properties, at some point. If your leasing agent or apartment manager sounds dismissive of this possibility, that is a good indicator that there is no real inspection plan in place.

Of all the criteria that you normally consider when selecting a new apartment, bed bugs are sometimes a surprising addition. However, knowing the answers to the question “How can you tell if you have bed bugs in an apartment you are considering?” is key to your peace of mind in your new home.

Jeff Lipman is a Des Moines, Iowa attorney who handles cases involving bed bug litigation. Jeff has the distinction of handling the first bed bug case certified as a class action suit in the United States. In addition to representing plaintiffs and offering consulting services to pest control professionals and apartment or hotel operators, Jeff lectures throughout the country on the issue of bed bug litigation.

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