"A thorough inspection at check-in can ensure that the property is safe before tenants move in and regular checks throughout the rental term can ensure the home is free from bedbugs and other pests that infest properties like rats, mice or cockroaches"
- Daniel Evans - AIIC
Daniel Evans, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, said dealing with any infestation early was vitally important.
He adds: “The risk with rented properties is that the owner isn’t on the premises very often. It could be a few weeks before a tenant realises that the property has been infested and by then the problem will be far worse.”
“No property is safe from pests – but the earlier you can tackle the problem, the better.”
Homes in sofas
Recent national newspaper reports suggested that Manchester, Leicester, Bristol and London have the worst bedbug problem in the UK but other cities like Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow also had higher than average infestations.
Despite being commonly known as bedbugs, these pests don’t limit their activities to mattresses. According to the NHS, they can make their homes in sofas, curtains, behind pictures and under wallpaper.
Although their bites are not considered dangerous, they can be itchy and leave their victim covered in red spots.
The problem is that they tend to hitch a lift into properties on clothing or in bags or luggage. Once they’re in, they multiply really quickly and that makes them difficult to get rid of - a single bedbug can produce hundreds of offspring in a few months.
And then the question arises of ‘who is responsible’? Landlord or tenant?
Evans explains: “But it is the landlords who have a duty of care to their tenants.
“A thorough inspection at check-in can ensure that the property is safe before tenants move in and regular checks throughout the rental term can ensure the home is free from bedbugs and other pests that infest properties like rats, mice or cockroaches.
“If they’re spotted at check-in, inventory clerks will gather photographic evidence which will be sent to the landlord who can then alert pest control. If they appear mid-term, it may be the tenant’s responsibility but the important thing is that any infestation is caught early before too much damage is done.”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has said that the possibility of bedbugs on the London Underground was a source of ‘real concern.’
He said he had been in touch with officials in Paris after the city became overwhelmed by a bedbug infestation.