Bed Bug Safety Tips for Apartment Renters


Rental sign

I spared you the image of bed bugs to accompany this article as a merciful act of good taste. One quick search in Google images for “bed bugs” sent my cursor racing for the “back” button. The images haunt my mind as I type this. We all know what they are and what kind of damage they can wreak on the average American household–regardless of your socioeconomic background. An image of a bed mattress crawling with the bugs from hell would just leave you in a state of paranoia throughout your day, scratching yourself every time a body hair moves.

Even though bed bugs don’t discriminate as to who they attach themselves to, the major cities of America are hot beds (pun intended) for these insects. The pest control industry leader, Orkin provided their 2013 Bed Bug Cities List earlier this year. Among the top five cities were Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Detroit, and Cincinnati. If you live in one of these cities, going to sleep at night has become a whole hell of a lot harder.

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Remember when the only fear you had at night was this guy?

The modern day plague of bed bugs has set off alarm bells in city governments nationwide. Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance in 2013 that required condo associations to officially plan, detect and treat these pests. If you’re a renter and want to avoid this nightmare scenario, Rent It Today has a few tips to consider:

Tips For Avoiding Bed Bug Apartments:

  • Before visiting the apartment of interest, check the BedBugRegistry.com for reported occurrences of bed bugs in the area.
  • Inspect floor board edging and carpets, behind headboard, paintings and even electrical outlets.
  • It’s best to avoid renting fully furnished condos if possible.
  • Seek out apartments with more metal than wood. Bed bugs cannot climb metal bed rails and chairs which minimizes risk of them getting in bed.
  • Research the buildings bed bug compliant and violation history. Bed bug complaints represent formal complaints filed by residents.
  • Ask neighboring tenants. If landlords aren’t handling the situation, current tenants will be eager to warn newcomers (hopefully).
  • Question landlords/management companies on how they’re handling bed bug issues. If they’re defensive or dismissive about the inquiry, best avoid their property.
  • Dirty and clean people get bed bugs. Check your prejudice at the door, because these bugs don’t care what your skin tone is or your income.

The plus side is that many cities require landlords to disclose bed bug problems to potential buyers and renters. That’s fine if the problems have become prevalent enough to require legal attention, but what if the landlord or co-op owner isn’t aware of an isolated occurrence in the apartment complex? It certainly pays to be vigilant in today’s rental market. Skepticism is healthy and could save you a lot of money and sleepless nights.

6 comments
LevyRedfox
LevyRedfox

Katie, bed bugs are always a worry when looking for a new place. I liked the idea of asking neighboring tenants if they have had or heard of bed bugs being in the building. It also might be a good idea to have a pest control company inspect the beds for you. 

TalmageDangerfield
TalmageDangerfield

Thank you so much for these tips. My wife and I woke up this morning with our arms completely covered in bug bites. I'm pretty sure that we have bed bugs, but we don't know how to get rid of them. We are typically pretty clean people, so I don't know how they got in there. 

emilysmith47876
emilysmith47876

Thank you so much for the tips on how to avoid bed bugs. I like the tip to inspect the floor boards, carpets, behind your headboards and paintings, and electrical outlets. In fact, it would be best to inspect everywhere because if bugs can get to it, then they could stay there.

JamesHarvon
JamesHarvon

That is always one of my biggest fears about sleeping in unfamiliar beds. Bed bugs need to be properly disposed or they come back in full force. I will certainly follow these researching tips to avoid sleeping in a bed with bed bugs while traveling.  

James Lisbon
James Lisbon

Wow, it would seem like there could be different things to check when it comes to apartments and making sure they are clean.   The last thing I would think someone would want is to deal with bugs and other pest issues.   Thankfully there seem to be services out there that can help should pests become a problem.

JordanJohnson2
JordanJohnson2

One of my good friends had a problem with bed bugs in her house a few years ago. We still aren't certain how they got in there. After they were able to eliminate the problem, they became far more cautious about cleanliness, and they made sure to be cautious when inviting friends over for sleepovers.