Ohio Bed Bug Laws

Ohio bed bug laws have been on the books for awhile, but unfortunately for both renters and landlords, it’s not the answer you are looking for. A Landlord does not have to disclose bed bugs at a property, and a tenant isn’t required to disclose a bed bug issue either (incoming tenant or existing one)..

With the recent rise in bed bug infestations, many other states have passed laws addressing this pest..  Ohio just has not caught up with the trend yet. Twenty-two states currently have laws addressing bed bugs in rental properties, hotels, institutional facilities and schools.

Ohio’s only bed bug law was passed in 1992 to address infestations in hotels, motels and Single Room Occupancies (SROs) (see ORC 3741.13). Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with tenant / landlord law.

Ohio Bed Bug Laws and Landlord Tenant Law

Ohio landlord tenant law does not include specifics in regards to bed bugs and other insect infestations. However, as a renter, you do have the right to reside in fit and habitable conditions.  Your landlord also has the right to protect him or herself in the event that a tenant brings beds bugs in to a rental.

Here is what to do if you rent and find bed bugs

  1. Contact your landlord immediately
  2. Do NOT disturb anything
  3. Close off the area (if possible) that you found evidence or bed bugs
  4. Do NOT treat with any DIY treatments

Once a landlord is notified by a tenant of a bed bug infestation, and it is deemed the tenant did not bring in the bed bugs –  the landlord is then typically responsible for hiring someone and treating the infestation. Many landlords will also inspect and treat adjacent units and shared common areas. If there is no bed bug addendum in place, this can be a bit of a no man’s land and usually the financial responsibility falls on the landlord.

This is commonly seen if you have just moved in to your apartment or rental home, or if a neighboring unit has had a long standing issue with bed bugs. The landlord may also be aware of a previous bed bug issue in the unit, in which case him or her would be responsible to cover the issue.

Alternatively, if the bed bugs are deemed to have come in as a result of the renter (your family member or friend has bed bugs, place of work has bed bugs, etc) then the renter is typically responsible for treatment.

It can be difficult to prove the original location or cause of the infestation. An inspection can sometimes shine a helpful light on determining how long the bed bug issue has been there.

Many landlord / tenant relationships are able to come to a mutually agreed upon plan – It is in everyones’ best interest to get the bed bug problem treated in a timely manner and avoid the bed bug infestation growing worse, or even infesting surrounding units. 

Protecting Against Bed Bugs

To ensure your new apartment is free of bed bugs, do your research. Google search the management company or landlord, looking for any reviews by previous and current tenants, talk to your soon-to-be neighbors, and be aware of what to look for when you do a walk through of the apartment.

For landlords, talking to references and talking to your potential renters, as well as knowing what is going on in neighboring units, is key. Talk to former landlords if possible, to avoid repeat offenders! You’d be surprised how many times we have seen the same culprit infest a different rental property, unbeknownst to the new landlord/owner.

We also advise landlords to use a bed bug addendum. A bed bug addendum means you have inspected and cleared the apartment prior to rental, and the tenant agrees that any bed bug costs will be at their expense. A bed bug addendum only works if you have a certified dog inspection done prior to renting a home / unit. This protects the owner, but also protects the tenant and shows the apartment was bed bug free prior to rental.

Have an inspection done if you suspect anything. Do not expose your belongings to bed bugs, and do not move if you know you have bed bugs!  There are affordable, effective treatment options. Call us today! 216-544-8292

Learn about Ohio Pesticide Apartment Law 921.06 if you rent in or own a property with 4 or more units.