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Landlords Ask Tenants To Sign Bed Bug Contracts

As the bed bug epidemic spreads, some landlords are asking tenants to sign a contract placing extermination responsibilities on them. Get the story.

Some landlords are asking tenants to sign contracts that place extermination responsibilities on renters, Consumer 10’s Kurt Ludlow reported Friday.

Jason York and his roommates have called the northeast side Bel Air Court Apartments home for the past four years.

“They’ve been fair to us,” York said. “It’s been nice. This is really the first trouble we’ve ever really had of them.”

York said that he and his roommates were handed a pest control addendum to sign as part of their lease renewal. The addendum required them to certify that there were no bed bugs in their apartment.

According to the addendum, the men would have to notify the landlord should bed bugs appear, cooperate with extermination efforts and pay the costs, including those for extermination in other units should bed bugs spread

They also would immediately lose their apartment and their lease would be terminated, Ludlow reported.

“It just seemed draconian,” York said.

Dianna Parker of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus said that many landlords are using bed bug contracts to put more responsibility on tenants to prevent bed bugs infestations and to pay for the high costs of extermination.

“I think they may be more common as we notice an influx of bed bug infestations in Columbus,” Parker said.

Parker said that tenants have three choices – sign, negotiate changes to the agreement or move, Ludlow reported.

“There’s a process here the tenants are entitled to under Ohio law that cannot be contracted away, frankly,” Parker said.

York said that he and his roommates felt boxed into a corner.

“Alex and I saw this, looked at each other, and he said to me, ‘What choice do we have now?’” York said.

The roommates returned to their apartment Friday to find a notice from their landlord that their lease was not being renewed. They have 30 days to vacate their apartment, Ludlow reported.

Bel Air Court Apartments declined an interview with Consumer 10.

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