It’s Tenant Vs. Landlord In Irving Bed Bug Fight

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Irving resident Lenell Wyatt is well aware of the old saying… “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Unfortunately she found out it’s not hard to find those bugs in beds and sofas. Wyatt’s apartment at the Vista Pointe complex in Irving is crawling with bed bugs.

“I mean, I literally sit there and watch them come out of the sofa,” she said of the infestation. And the bites the bugs leave behind, well they’re unpleasant. “They would be raised up on my skin with red markings.”

To prove the point to management, her niece bagged some of the bugs up to show the landlord. “I am very frustrated. I took a whole day off from both of my jobs,” said Wyatt. “I was up 24 hours because they were pressuring me to get everything out.”

Wyatt had to dismantle two beds and uproot her sofas so exterminators could treat her apartment and there’s a catch. She may have to pay for the treatment.

Tony Mallers is an attorney with Cowles & Thompson who handles landlord-tenant law. He says in most cases, the landlord must pick up the cost of any problems that affect the health or safety of a tenant, but there are exceptions.

“A landlord is not responsible for items that are caused by the tenant or by guests or invitees of the tenant,” explained Mallers. “So therefore an argument arises in favor of the landlord if it can be proven that a tenant brought an infested mattress into the rented dwelling.”

And that’s exactly what the managing company of the Vista Pointe Apartments is arguing.

A spokesman for the company said tenants are asked to inspect their apartments before moving any furniture in. If no bed bugs are found, then the apartment is considered clean. If bed bugs are found after furniture has been moved in they are considered the responsibility of the tenant.

And Wyatt faces another obstacle. Her lease has an addendum specifically addressing bed bugs. It places the responsibility of paying for treatment on her.

CBS 11 News contacted the Dallas Tenants’ Association and we were told that bed bug addendum’s are rare. Attorney Mallers agrees and said he had never seen such a clause.

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  • marty Johnson

    TAA said bed bud addendum is rare, NOT… The TAA invented it to cover there ASSETT. I worked at a property where we had every tenant sign one whether they understood or not. Never any training, just sign and good luck. And the property pays for the TAA forms.. The Bed Bud Addendum is part of there forms… Marty

  • Marty

    Meant Bed Bug…..

  • darwin

    We simply do not know who (previous or current tennent) brought in the bugs.

    We will see more of these bed bugs addendum since bed bugs are very hard to get rid of, and their number is increasing. (just ask the hotel management)

    Perhaps, it would be a selling point for apartment management to say that they spray when tennents move out.

  • Jennifer K

    The bugs shown in your piece were termites not bedbugs.

    • Michael Merchant

      No, the picture clearly shows adult bed bugs. To compare, see The TAA does provide an addendum for member landlords that requires tenants to sign a statement that says they have inspected their apartment and found it free of bed bugs. Unfortunately, bed bugs are not as easy to spot as door dings on a rental car. Even professionals have a difficult time spotting bed bugs, especially in a recently cleaned, painted and vacant apartment.

  • KellieBea

    One of my neighbors was forced to pay $300 & the treatment still didn’t work. Now, they’ve moved into my apt & I started out here w/o any furniture to have brought them in ourselves. I, for one, refuse to pay for something that is supposed to be taken care of by the owners/management. Especially since they came from our next door neighbor. so we know for sure we didn’t bring them in. They can live in ANYTHING for up to 12 mos. w/o feeding, so these empty apts may appear to have none until they have flesh to feast upon. And, it has nothing to do with cleanliness. So, until all parties take some of the responsibility, its not gonna end anytime soon. Especially for those of us on a fixed income.

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  • Mark

    If the landlord, doesn’t get rid of the bed bugs.And the tenant can’t afford to. Who is responsible for them spreading to the neighbors apartments?

  • Mr Black

    Lot’s of people buy their mattresses and furniture from bargain centers and places like traders village. Nobody knows where the vendors got those mattresses and furniture from. I have seen guys get the mattresses out of dumpsters. They rip off the old material, maybe most of the filler and re-upholster with new material to sell. Apartment management should only be responible to rid a unit of bedbugs when it is vacated. If someone’s been living in a unit for a year and bought cheap furniture and bedbugs suddenly appear, they should be responsible to pay for removal cause they are nasty. Property management should do more apartment inspections as it says in their TAA lease forms. Then they can fiind out who is bringing the bedbugs in. Nasty furniture with bodily fluid stains on them? bedbugs. Chunky made in Mexico furniture from the flea market? Bedbugs. Dirty carpet with ancient stains that weren’t there when the tenant moved in? Bingo! Bedbugs. Of course nobody is gonna want to pay for the removal of bedbugs. The only real treatment is costly.

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