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Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite. . .Your Condominium Neighbor!

When water leaks from one condominium into another, determining the responsible party is usually not too difficult.  But what about when the hazard isn’t water, but bed bugs, parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood and often take up residence nearby or inside of beds, bedding and/or other sleep areas, who is responsible then? This blog post will review some of the issues regarding condos and bedbugs.

Bedbugs and Condos

Who is on the Hook?

In general, all condominium unit owners are responsible for the interior of their units, including keeping the unit free from infestations of any type.  However, what happens when bedbugs infiltrate the walls, moving from one unit to another, traversing the common elements along the way?

If your association receives notice that there are bedbugs in the common elements, it is time to act.  Naturally, however, the infestation will not be eradicated by simply treating the common elements.  Many associations choose to treat unit interiors and the common elements together, in the hope of wiping out the infestation once and for all.  Most condominium instruments permit the Association to treat the interior of the units and then charge the owner, however, when owners are resistant, this is not always an easy solution.

To Treat or Be Sued

In Evanston, Illinois, a condominium unit owners’ association sued an owner who refused to have his bedbug infested condominium treated by exterminators.  Faced with a bedbug infestation, the condominium association paid to have all of the condominium units in one of its buildings exterminated.  One owner failed to cooperate and is now facing an injunction action.  In essence, the association is suing the owner to treat his unit.

An Ounce of Prevention

Reports of bedbug infestations are becoming more and more prevalent.  It is essential that condominium associations take proactive steps to get ahead of this growing problem through owner education and the implementation of policies and procedures aimed at bed bug prevention.   As with most things – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so contact your experienced community association lawyer to discuss ways to protect your unit owners association.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

Susan Tarley

Susan Tarley

Susan chairs the firm's common interest community (HOAs and Condos) practice area. She was admitted into the College of Community Association Attorneys (“CCAL”). Susan is one of fewer than 150 attorneys nationwide to be admitted to CCAL, for distinguishing herself through contributions to the evolution or practice of community association law.

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Filed under: Common Interest Community, Contributors, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Real Estate Strategies, Unit Owners Association by Susan Tarley

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