New California Law Requires Landlords to Provide Tenants With Information Regarding Bedbugs

On September 26, 2016, California enacted Assembly Bill 551, which provides new duties for residential landlords and tenants regarding bedbugs.

Among the new requirements, Assembly Bill 551 requires residential landlords to provide prospective and existing tenants with a notification regarding bedbugs. On and after July 1, 2017, the notification must be provided to prospective tenants before they enter into a lease. The notice must be provided to all other tenants by January 1, 2018. The notice must be in at least 10-point type and be in substantially the following form:

Information about Bed Bugs

Bed bug Appearance: Bed bugs have six legs. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about 1 ⁄4 of an inch in length. Their color can vary from red and brown to copper colored. Young bed bugs are very small. Their bodies are about 1 ⁄16 of an inch in length. They have almost no color. When a bed bug feeds, its body swells, may lengthen, and becomes bright red, sometimes making it appear to be a different insect. Bed bugs do not fly. They can either crawl or be carried from place to place on objects, people, or animals. Bed bugs can be hard to find and identify because they are tiny and try to stay hidden.

Life Cycle and Reproduction: An average bed bug lives for about 10 months. Female bed bugs lay one to five eggs per day. Bed bugs grow to full adulthood in about 21 days.
Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding.

Bed bug Bites: Because bed bugs usually feed at night, most people are bitten in their sleep and do not realize they were bitten. A person’s reaction to insect bites is an immune response and so varies from person to person. Sometimes the red welts caused by the bites will not be noticed until many days after a person was bitten, if at all. Common signs and symptoms of a possible bed bug infestation:

  • Small red to reddish brown fecal spots on mattresses, box springs, bed frames, mattresses, linens, upholstery, or walls.
  • Molted bed bug skins, white, sticky eggs, or empty eggshells.
  • Very heavily infested areas may have a characteristically sweet odor.
  • Red, itchy bite marks, especially on the legs, arms, and other body parts exposed while sleeping. However, some people do not show bed bug lesions on their bodies even though bed bugs may have fed on them.

For more information, see the Internet Web sites of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the National Pest Management Association.

The foregoing bed bug notice requirements will be contained in Civil Code section 1954.603.

For further information, please contact Ruzicka, Wallace & Coughlin, LLP at (949) 748-3600; website: www.rwclegal.com.

The law firm of Ruzicka, Wallace & Coughlin, LLP represents landlords, property management companies, institutional and private lenders, employers and insurance companies throughout the State of California in real estate, business and employment litigation. The information provided herein is for general interest only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.

© 2016 Ruzicka, Wallace & Coughlin, LLP.

October 9, 2016 | Landlord-Tenant Law |