We are often asked who is responsible for bed bugs found in an apartment. Apartment complexes who have many units require proper maintenance. Failure to properly maintain an apartment building will expose the property owner to liability. In many cases multiple tenants will be able to bring forward a similar cause of action for the injuries. Apartment liability is very fact sensitive and will require some past knowledge by the property owners. Additionally, courts will judge the conduct of the property owner acted appropriately in dealing with the issue.
Knowledge of Property Owner or Manager
Knowledge of the property owner is a significant factor in assessing liability. When the property owner had prior knowledge liability can be imposed on them for failure to disclose. For example if they had prior knowledge from other tenants or previous tenant in the same unit and failed to act, liability will be imposed.
A property owner owes a duty to current and incoming tenants to provide a habitable space. When they fail to remediate issues such as bed bugs, they are failing to provide such a space. When a property owner with knowledge fails to inform tenants of the issue they will be liable for any injuries sustained. Property owners who have prior knowledge are required to inform tenants of potential issues.
However, in many cases property owners neglect to mention the issue. As a result unsuspecting tenants lease or rent a property without being aware of potential bed bug infestations. This can result in loss of valuables including furniture and bedding as well as personal injuries.
Proving that the property owner had knowledge requires some extensive investigation. Our offices will generally subpoena records and search for any past complaints to the city. Usually our investigation will lead to past knowledge by the property owner. In many cases this will be indicative of past knowledge, which will expose them to liability.
Conduct of Property Owner
Much like knowledge, conduct is equally important. Conduct refers to how the property owner acted. Did they conceal any important facts? Were they proactive in resolving the issue? These are all factors that are considered. Unfortunately most property owners are not proactive when it comes to handling these types of issues. Instead they do the exact opposite. Many lie or misinform tenants of the issues. Others fail to provide a remedy and obligate the tenant to pay the costs for such remediation.
Conduct of the property owner is important in assessing value. How the property owner acted after the accident is important in assessing both damages and liability. A property owner who takes measure to correct and inform the tenants will have little to no liability. Property owners who fail to correct the issue and expose tenants to these conditions will be held liable for injuries sustained.
Often times we will determine conduct by evaluating communication between the parties and any steps taken by the property owner. Usually our investigations find that a property owner failed to meet the appropriate level of conduct. In most cases property owners attempted to conceal or mislead parties with regards to bed bugs on the property.
Attorney Representation: If you were injured due to bed bugs at your apartment complex contact the offices at Downtown LA Law Group for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are happy to assist you in reviewing your case. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, no recovery no fee guarantee.