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How bedbugs harm you and your home
Have you spotted a small brown to black bug in your apartment? Have bites appeared on your skin? You may have bed bugs in your apartment. Bed bugs are tiny parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. This is not uncommon, for example in France there is currently an ‘epidemic’ of bedbugs spreading by public transport. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, but they do cause a number of problems:
- Bites: A bug bite is usually itchy and generally unpleasant. In addition, sensitive human individuals may experience an allergic reaction. In addition, scratching bites can also lead to secondary infection and scarring.
- Sleep disturbance: Bedbugs are nocturnal creatures. This means that they feed on blood mostly at night. Therefore, feeding them at night can disrupt your sleep considerably.
- Psychological impact: Fear of the consequences of an infestation and the stigma that exists in society associated with bedbugs can take a toll on your mental well-being.
- Economic impact: The process of getting rid of bedbugs can not only be lengthy but also costly. Not only does the cost of disinsection need to be factored in, but also the cost of disposal. This is because bedbugs can infest and damage furniture, mattresses and other personal belongings. Infested items often have to be disposed of, which leads to additional costs.
- Spread to neighbouring apartments: bedbugs can easily migrate from one apartment to another, so it is essential to address the problem quickly to avoid infesting your neighbours.
How do you know if you have bedbugs in your apartment?
To really see for yourself, we bring you a list of the most common signs that this bug has actually taken up residence in your home:
- Tiny bugs the size of apple seeds: The main indicator is the presence of the beetles themselves. Adult beetles are about the size of an apple seed, blackish-brown in color, and flat and oval in shape. Nymphs (young bugs) are smaller and lighter in colour. They are mainly active at night, so it is best to look for their presence at this time.
- Bites: Bedbug bites are usually itchy and appear on the skin in clusters or a straight line. They often resemble small red welts and can be found on exposed areas such as the hands, feet, neck and face.
- Reddish or brownish spots on bedding: Bed bugs can leave small blood or fecal stains on your bedding.
- Bed bug exoskeletons: As bed bugs grow, they shed their exoskeletons, which you may find especially in the seams of your mattress or the folds of your couch.
- Musty smell: Bed bugs give off a distinct, sweet and musty smell.
- Small white eggs and eggshells: Bedbug eggs are tiny and white, while empty eggshells are translucent. They can be found in crevices near their hiding places (most often in the folds of couches and beds).
Do you have a problem with bedbugs?
Is your housing association refusing to disinsectise or is your holiday ruined because of a wall mite infested room? Contact our attorneys. We will review your case and draft legal services to resolve it within 24 hours.
First aid against bedbugs in the apartment
If you have discovered that your apartment is indeed infested with bedbugs, then you need to act really fast. Don’t rely on “guaranteed” old wives’ tale advice on how to get rid of bedbugs in your apartment, but rather choose tried and tested methods. First of all, you need to book the services of a professional as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can do the basic disinsection yourself:
- Isolate infested objects: limit the spread of bedbugs by isolating infested objects. Enclose clothing, bedding and other items in plastic bags to prevent them from spreading to other parts of your home.
- Boil and dry infested fabrics: Boil infested clothing, bedding and curtains and, if you have a tumble dryer, dry them on high heat.
- Vacuum thoroughly: Vacuum your entire living space, including mattresses, carpets and all cracks and crevices in your home. Then dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately.
- Steam clean: Use a steam cleaner on mattresses, upholstery and other fabric furnishings. You don’t have to buy a steam cleaner, but you can rent one.
- Seal cracks and crevices: Seal all cracks and crevices in walls, floors and furniture.
- Use anti-bug covers: Put bed bug-proof covers on your mattress to catch any remaining bed bugs.
- Bet on insecticides: Use insecticides designed for bed bugs. But use caution when using them and follow the instructions carefully.
- Prevent re-infestation: After professional disinsection, it’s important to start taking precautions to prevent bed bugs from returning. Check regularly for bedbugs, use bedbug-proof packaging and covers, and especially take care when bringing used furniture or clothing into your home.
Bed bugs in rented accommodation
Who is responsible for the condition of a rented flat?
Both the tenant and the landlord are responsible for the condition of the flat. But each in a slightly different area. The tenant is responsible for providing and paying for routine maintenance of the apartment (such as regular cleaning and maintenance of the appliances, sanitary equipment, doors, windows, etc.). In addition, the tenant is also responsible for minor repairs not exceeding CZK 1 000.
Thelandlord is then responsible for maintaining the apartment so that it is fit for use (that is, he is obliged to provide the basic necessities in the form of running water, heat, electricity, etc.). If the apartment is equipped with sanitary equipment, appliances, etc., then the landlord is obliged to provide replacement in case of breakage. In addition, the landlord is also responsible for major repairs in the apartment costing CZK 1,000 or more.
Tip: Are you about to rent an apartment or rent out your apartment? We will draw up or review a lease agreement tailored to your case. With our services, disputes over unclear rights or obligations will not arise between landlord and tenant even after the lease has ended.
So who is responsible for pests in the apartment?
As the above information shows, the disinsection of the apartment is paid by the landlord, as the presence of bedbugs makes the apartment unfit for use. The exception is if it is proven that the tenant introduced the bedbugs into the apartment. Then the obligation to pay for the disinsection would pass to the owner.
It should also be noted that the tenant must cooperate fully with the landlord and the disinsection efforts at all times. They must therefore report the problem in a timely manner, start solving it as soon as possible, make the apartment available for disinsection, etc.
Tip: The problem of pest infestation in a rented apartment can often lead to court. Contact us in this case. We will assess your chances of success in court and suggest a solution that will lead to the desired outcome.
Bedbugs in the neighbouring apartment
At first glance, it may seem that bedbugs in your neighbour’s flat are only his problem. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as these pests multiply and spread quickly and easily. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to spread from one apartment to an entire apartment building in a matter of weeks. So what should be done in this case?
Tip: Do you have a problem with members of your housing association or HOA? Contact our attorneys. We offer long-term cooperation and certainty of resolution of any legal problem.
The situation must be reported as soon as possible to the apartment building manager, for example to the housing cooperative or the community of unit owners. If it is not clear where the bugs in the apartment building came from, then the cost of the disinsection will be borne by the association or HOA. However, if the culprit is known, then the association or HOA will usually also pay the costs, but can subsequently claim compensation from the culprit .
Bedbugs in a hotel and entitlement to compensation
Bedbugs are not only confined to flats, but are also a common problem in hotels, where they can spread very quickly and are difficult to get rid of. Guests not only have their stay ruined, but may also end up bringing the bedbugs home as an unwanted souvenir. So how does consumer protection and possible compensation work in this case? Are you entitled to a refund for your stay? The Czech Trade Inspection Authority has commented extensively on this dilemma, and we have a summary of basic information for you.
First of all, it depends very much whether you are staying at the hotel separately or as part of a tour. This is because if you are only staying at the hotel, then the claim is complicated and usually depends on the hotel’s terms and conditions. However, if you are staying at a hotel as part of a tour, then you have a chance of compensation.
A tour means that you not only have accommodation, but also travel, delegate services, programme, etc. all within the same company. Tours are also usually offered by travel agents and are subject to stricter conditions by law. With a tour, you have the option to claim the service if there are defects and the bedbug infested room is definitely a defect.
Tip: Were you hoping for a pleasant holiday and instead were only disappointed by the poor quality of the tour, due to the fault of the tour operator? Contact us. We will assess your case and within 24 hours we will develop a proposal for legal services to resolve it.
However, there is a certain procedure to follow when making a claim. First of all, you should report the presence of bed bugs to the delegate as soon as possible and take evidence (e.g. in the form of photographs). You should have the delegate confirm the complaint in writing. You should remember to state who is making the complaint, to whom and why. Also include any identifying details of the tour (such as the contract number). The delegate is obliged to arrange a new room for you on the basis of the complaint. Upon arrival, you can ask for a discount, a refund or even compensation.