Keeping Bed Bugs at Bay and why the little buggers can be a major issue for Landlords

You might be thinking that Bed Bugs is an extremely strange topic to address in a blog post, I mean really how often you we actually come across bed bugs in day to day life? Well you right, for most people who typically won’t own more than four of five beds in their home, however for the landlord who may well own anywhere between 5-500 beds then the likelihood of bed bugs becoming a problem is obviously radically increased. The main reason that inspired this blog has been that Relocation PA has recently had tenants having bed bugs and if we are completely honest it was something we had never thought about before as an issue we had to be careful of and so we thought it would be useful to firstly bring it to the attention of all landlords as something to be aware of and secondly how to deal with not only the bed bugs themselves but also the tenant in question and other tenants in the property as it can affect everyone else in the property.

So, what are bed bugs? According to then NHS they are “small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds. They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed on blood.”

The best way of preventing bed bugs is to check for them regularly. Now this can be a bit of a bore lak but we guarantee it will be worth the small amount of hassle early compared to the major hassle if they become a problem.

 

So how do you spot Bed Bugs?

Since Relocation PA encounter this blasted bugs, we have now taken to checking for bed bugs on every quarterly room inspection. Our Property Managers are looking for small bugs of little white eggs in all the tiny little creavices of the beds and joints in the mattresses to ensure they are not hiding in there!

Obviously checking is the best way as we can then prevent the bugs but a second way of finding these little buggers is if any tenants have any little red bites on their arms or legs which might indicate signs of bed bugs.

Other ways to spot of bed bugs include:

  • tiny black spots on a tenants mattress – this could be their dried poo
  • mottled bedbug shells – bedbugs shed their skin as they grow
  • blood spots on tenants sheets – these can occur if a tenant squashes a bug after it has fed
  • an unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom

How to deal with bed bugs?

So now we have looked at how to find bed bugs, what happens if you do find them (hopefully not). Firstly you need to check if any other of the beds in the house have bed bugs too as if they do the whole house will need dealing with whereas if they have just been confined to one room then only that room needs attention. The best and easiest way is too get a professional pet control firm in. This however as we found isn’t as straight forward as you think as whichever pest control firm you use needs to use a special and approved type of spray set by the environmental care wing of your local council. We, therefore, suggest the easiest thing to do is to just go directly to your local council who will either use one of their own pest control team of put you in touch with a council approved firm. This may not be the cheapest option but it will stop you having to go back and get it done again with the correctly approved spray a second time around as we had to do. Obviously if only one room has been infested then only that rooms needs spraying. This will mean the tenant has to vacant the room for few days. A few little tips we found out as we were dealing with this exact situation recently, as the landlord you DO NOT HAVE to pay to provide alternative accommodation. If you are dealing with the issue then it is up to the tenant to sort temporary accommodation out and there can be NO REDUCTION in rent for the inconvenience also.

Other ideas to get rid of bed bugs can include:

  • wash infested clothes or bed linen at 60C, or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes
  • use a hoover with a hose to suck up any bugs you can see
  • Replace mattress with a new one

We hope that gives you a little insight into bed bugs and why you need to be aware of them and also some ideas to help prevent them and deal with them if they are found. If however you don’t fancy dealing with bed bugs and wish for someone like Relocation PA to do all the hard work like looking for them and if found, dealing with them under our full management service, then please get in touch on 01432 700 025 or email us at hello@relocation-pa.co.uk as we would love to talk further about hwo we can help landlords manage their HMOs more efficiently.

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