Bed Bugs and Multi - Unit Housing in Atlanta, Ga.
We see many issues in Multi- Unit housing
Bed Bugs are now a Common problem and many times are mismanaged and get out of control.
Many property managers are unsure of what exactly they should do when tenant(s) have bed bug issues. There are many different laws and requirements in different areas. Many of the larger companies may have properties in so many different areas it’s hard to keep up with all the requirements.
So the basic scenario is you have lots of people living all around each other. Not just a physical connection but some social connections also.
Unfortunately in subsidized housing, there is a lot of used furniture and clothing brought into the buildings. This is where a lot of infestation originates. Used mattresses and box springs are brought in all the time. Some of those are infested. Even when they are thrown out by the dumpster they will disappear before they are picked up by the truck. Now they are in #217.
No one checks the furniture when people move. Into a unit. Usually no one checks the unit when people move out. So no one, including management has any idea of what’s going on as far as bed bugs are concerned.
‘Only reacting to complaints with some type of “hope and pray” treatment and getting the “low bid” and before you know it a 200 unit building will have 50 -100 infested units. Unfortunately we have seen this too many times.
Of course many units we can find activity visually pretty easy but the units that have recently become infested can be tough to locate. We normally recommend a K9 inspection for the entire building. Why ? Because many times we find there are heavy units that no one is aware of. There are those that think they are going to be evicted if they are found to have bed bugs. So they try to hide them. But they are still present and spread.
The management companies will sometimes have language in their lease or a waiver signed holding the tenant responsible for paying for treatment. What treatment ? But they were here when I moved in. Battle Royalle. The management company can’t prove they weren’t. The tenant can’t prove they were. Both want the bed bugs gone. Neither wants to pay. The tenant is getting hammered. Management is not. My opinion is if they are too cheap to have the units inspected when the tenants move out they deserve the battle. Then, if all they do is react to complaints they will have many battles ahead.
Waivers mean zero if you have no proof bed bugs were not present when the tenant moved in. It’s a good try but it won’t hold up if challenged.
After the K9 inspection we have a map of all the infested units and it’s interesting how you can look at it and see the social connections between many of the units. What we have learned over the years is bed bugs are carried into units much more than they enter crawling on their own.
We prefer Heat Treatments with some small amounts of chemicals and encasements for mattresses and box springs.
We only use Electric Heat Equipment powered by Generators built into our trucks and trailers. Bed Bugs cannot survive in temperatures over 119 degrees. We use fans with heaters to mimicking a convection oven type scenario inside.
We get these places cleaned up effectively treating the units quickly to stop spread. Then we monitor those units to make sure they have been eliminated. And then follow it up with Quarterly sweeps. There will still be some occasionally brought in. If they would do a better job in educating their tenants they could avoid many of those.
Changes in management so often also is not good. The new one comes in and wants to save money and it starts all over again. Agghhh. You get what you pay for. Sometimes.