Washington, DC

“Dear PoP,

I have a major issue with bed bugs and am looking for some guidance. I live in a rowhouse with a boatload of roommates, and I discovered bugs in my room late last last year. About two and a half month ago, I hired a great pest control company to come have one of those bed bug-sniffing dogs inspect the house. We had bugs in my room and one other.

I know it’s DC law that, in a single-family rented unit, tenants have to pony up to get rid of bugs, but I figured the property owner would have a vested interest in at least helping solve the problem. Ha. No such luck. Property management basically said, “sucks to be you.” No pun intended. Anyway.

I’d read all over the place that chemical treatment requires multiple rounds and isn’t as effective as “thermal remediation” (you know, where they bring in giant heaters and essentially bake the room.) So, I swallowed hard and footed the bill to have the two rooms treated. Cost? $1300. That was with a discount, mind you. I’m fresh out of school, so this was NOT easy to afford.

Long story short, I found a live bug ON ME yesterday. I have no idea how they came back because believe me … the pest control company treated the holy heck out of my room. My guess is that they’re coming from one of the adjoining townhomes, in which case, I may NEVER be able to get rid of them. The two rooms in our house that had bugs aren’t even adjacent at all; the only thing they share in common is a wall that connects to one neighboring house. I saw a pest control van outside that house not too long ago. If they sprayed pesticides, it could’ve sent them scattering back over my way.

I can afford one more round of extermination, but I want it to be my last one — maybe getting a moving van treated instead of the room. There’s no point treating my room again because they’ll just come back. And my landlord seems to have NO desire to help.

So, what can I do? Is this grounds to terminate a lease? I still have three months left on the lease, and it’s almost cheaper to swallow the rent than have to pay for rounds upon rounds for treatment that probably won’t work. This is driving me insane. I’m desperate (and darn near broke.)”

Terrifying. What do you guys suggest – is this grounds to terminate the lease? Does anyone have experience successfully removing bedbugs from their homes/apartments?

We spoke about one reader’s experience with bed bugs here and Tony’s battle with them here.


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