Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Bedbug Legislation Introduced
Legislation has been introduced in Michigan House of Representatives to address bedbug infestations in rental property. House Bill 4777 proposes to add a section in the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act (Public Act 348 of 1972) to provide for the responsibilities of tenants and landlords in situations where bedbugs are suspected and/or present. This is the same legislation that has been introduced in previous legislative sessions. The bill provides that a landlord shall not enter into a lease if the landlord knows the rental unit is infested with bedbugs, and, when entering a lease agreement the landlord shall supply the tenant with information relating to identification of bedbugs and keeping a rental unit free of bedbugs. The landlord has 7 days from receipt of written notice of suspected infestation to schedule a unit inspection, and if the inspection confirms infestation then the landlord has 7 days to begin control measures and schedule inspection of adjoining units. Treatment is to be carried out by a licensed pest management professional. After written notice to the landlord of suspected infestation, a tenant shall grant access for inspection/treatment and comply with the control protocol established by the landlord or the landlord’s pest management professional. The bill also bans tenant treatment of a rental unit. Furthermore, if the tenant or the tenant’s guest causes an infestation, the tenant shall pay the cost of treatment for that unit and any other areas where bedbugs have spread. The bill specifically states the landlord is not liable, except in cases of negligence, for damages arising from an infestation or treatment. The legislation also allows a landlord and tenant to agree in writing how responsibility is to be assigned for costs associated with an infestation. Finally, there is a preemption of local ordinances for control or treatment of bedbugs in conflict with the provisions of the bill. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for action.
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