Bed Bug Laws
NEW LEGISLATION CHANGES to the Colorado State Bed Bug Laws CAN IMPACT YOUR LANDLORD ROLE
Bed bugs are an invasive problem with far-reaching implications. Because of the prevalence of bed bug infestations in Denver (our city being among the most infested in the country), lawmakers have recently signed a new law into effect to assist both tenants and their landlords. In July, Jared Polis signed HB19-1328, requiring prompt notification and follow-up if a bed bug infestation is suspected. The purpose of the Bed Bugs in Residential Premises Act is to create a central system of accountability for everyone involved to best address bed bug issues before they get out of control.
If you’re a property manager for a private residence, apartment complex, or any other living structure, then it will fall on you to understand these legal changes and your updated responsibilities. Landlords who fail to comply with the requirements of this act will be held liable for the tenant’s actual damages. Likewise, tenants must provide notice of bed bug signs in a proactive fashion, as well as provide reasonable access to their dwelling unit for subsequent bed bug inspection and treatment services.
From single condo owners to major living complexes, it’s essential to achieve complete peace of mind with the right bed bug team. Advanced K9 Bed Bug Seekers, LLC provides Denver’s leading bed bug detection services, and we’re confident that we can address all of your property needs in a professional and timely manner. Before you stress too much about this new law change, keep reading to understand your responsibilities and how our bed bug dog can make life easier.
BREAKING DOWN THE NEW State BED BUG LAWs
In order to best understand the implications of this new law, we’ve broken the process down into seven parts. This new change can have major implications on both property managers and their tenants, so be sure that you are in the know to avoid any legal consequences later on!
RECEIVING NOTICE OF BED BUGS
The first update of the state bed but laws included in this legislation focuses on the allowable time and responsibilities of both parties once the presence of bed bugs are suspected in a dwelling. Tenants are required to promptly notify their landlord of any reasonable suspicion of bed bugs either electronically or through a written notice.
Tenants will be required to send notice to their landlord via telephone, email address, or electronic portal. Any method specified by the landlord in the rental agreement for communications can be used to provide prompt notification. The tenant should retain proof of their notice for future reference. Landlords must also provide written or electronic notice before they or their bed bug inspection team enter the premises.
Once the landlord has received notice, they have 96 hours to hire a qualified bed bug detection company for inspection of the premises and bring in a specialist for treatment if bed bugs are confirmed. The landlord and their bed bug detection team will be allowed to enter the unit and any contiguous unit for the purpose of completing their inspection. If the bed bug inspection proves that these pests are present, the landlord is obligated to check the surrounding units as promptly as possible to ensure the problem is not spreading.
The Colorado bed bug law defines who the landlord can rely on for bed bug detection services. You must hire a certified operator, commercial applicator, local health department agent, or a certified bed bug company. When it comes to detection services, a highly trained bed bug dog can deliver complete peace of mind.
REQUIRED NOTICE TO ENTER PREMISES
As the landlord, you are required to give the tenant notice of a bed bug inspection at least 48 hours before the inspection is scheduled to take place. If you have outlined a shorter time period in your lease (some managers provide 24 hours’ notice), then you can utilize this agreement, but otherwise, stick to the 48-hour period.
Before the bed bug detection team arrives, tenants should understand that they play an active role in the process. Once you notify your residents of a scheduled bed bug inspection, they are obligated to be cooperative and avoid the hindrance of the inspection (and possible treatment) service. Colorado law affords bed bug inspectors with the power to inspect a variety of surfaces, including furniture, bedding, and more, so tenants will need to open their homes and help guide agents. It’s also important to note that tenants are responsible for the costs associated with preparing their dwelling for bed bug treatment services.
REPORTING OF RESULTS
Once the bed bug inspection is completed, the landlord will need to take additional action to avoid any liability with related infestation concerns. Property managers will be obligated to report the results of their inspection within two business days to the tenant or tenants. If bed bugs are not found on the premises, the landlord should tell their tenant to follow up with the Denver Health Department if they still have concerns. If the signs of a bed bug infestation are present, the inspector will have 24 hours to inform the landlord of their results.
Working with a professional bed bug detection team such as AK9BBS provides landlords and property managers with documentation that the inspection was completed. If no bed bugs are found, then the inspection will provide a bug-free declaration, protecting landlords from liability in the event that future action is needed.
If bed bugs are discovered on your Denver property, then according to the new Colorado beg bug law it is important to take proactive steps to address the problem and minimize any future concerns. Landlords and property managers have five business days to commence proper bed bug eradication efforts as determined by the bed bug inspection professional who found the bugs. Colorado law puts a lot of emphasis on the direction provided by a qualified bed bug detection team. If your inspection expert tells you that it will take a certain number of treatments to eradicate the infestation, then you are bound by law to accept their conclusion and follow the plan accordingly.
Tenants will again have a part to play in the sanitization process. They must follow all prompts by the inspection company before treatment, which will likely include washing clothes and fabrics and storing them in airtight bags, cleaning the dwelling to minimize hiding places for bed bugs, and more. The tenant must follow all steps in the process to stay compliant with this new law.
RESPONSIBILITY OF PAYMENT
Once a bed bug infestation has been detected, certain steps are required to eradicate the problem and restore your property. Under the Colorado bed bug law, the landlord is the responsible party for financing any and all costs associated with bed bug inspection and treatment services.
Even if you suspect that your current tenants are the cause of bed bug problems, it will still fall on you financially to rectify the issue. Certain exceptions apply, but be prepared to finance your bed bug services.
FULL DISCLOSURE TO NEW TENANTS ABOUT BED BUGS
HB19-1328 also outlines protection for tenants from landlords who knowingly or reasonably suspect that their dwelling has bed bugs. If you have a property with bed bugs that you are actively aware of, the legal responsibility will fall on you.
Denver landlords are bound to disclose whether or not the dwelling in question contained bed bugs within the past eight months. This disclosure will also include the last date that a bed bug inspection took place and subsequently cleared the property. In this scenario, it’s beneficial to have documentation from your bed bug detection team.
LANDLORD LIABILITY IF THE LAW IS BREACHED
A landlord who fails to comply with the requirements of the act is liable to the tenant for the tenant’s actual damages. This means that failure to take the proper steps within the allowed timeline could result in the landlord’s responsibility to the tenant for their costs and damages.
It’s important to add that a landlord may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain an injunctive relief against a tenant who refuses to provide reasonable access to their dwelling unit or fails to accomodate a reasonable request for inspection or treatment of the dwelling unit.
LANDLORDS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING PROPERTIES FREE OF BED BUGS
In summary, it will be your responsibility as the landlord or property manager to ensure that your premises are free from bed bugs. Regardless of how they entered the property, it will fall on you to take quick action to inspect and resolve any report of bed bugs. Abiding by these new laws will help to keep you safe from legal penalties.
- Fast bed bug inspections — Our bed bug dog and handler will arrive on time to provide fast, discreet detection services on your property. This is essential for businesses looking to protect their image.
- Detection of all life stages — From eggs to mature adults, Tracker is trained to detect all signs of live bed bugs. He is skilled enough to smell bed bugs in walls, behind baseboards, and inside of outlets.
- Accurate bed bug detections — Unlike other inspection services, which may be successful 30% to 40% of the time, our services are more than 90% accurate.
- No disruption or mess — With the use of a trained bed bug dog, our team can provide quality inspection services without causing a mess or disrupting the property. We will work with the tenants in a cooperative manner to minimize the inconvenience of this process.
- Proven support — If bed bugs are detected through the course of our investigation, the client will be given instruction and resources for how to best proceed. Early detection and proper service will help to prevent infestations from getting out of hand.