Essential rental info

Bedbugs Everyone is concerned

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Updated on 2023-03-09

What is a bed bug?


Bedbugs are bloodsucking insects: they feed on the blood of human beings! So, wherever there are humans, there will be bed bugs! Bedbugs have oval and flattened bodies and microscopic hairs, giving them a reddish-brown appearance. They are visible to the naked eye (5 to 8 mm long) and do not fly because they have no wings but walk fast. 

Hygiene has nothing to do with the problem! There has been a resurgence of these insects since the 1990s, but they have existed for millennia. The proof is found in some Egyptian tombs dating back to 3550 years! Globalization has favored business and tourist travel, meaning bed bugs your suitcases! Big cities are the first and most infested. 

Recognize the signs of bed bugs


Infestation of bedbugs is now a major public health problem. Here are the main clues and symptoms of their presence:

On your body:

  • You itch!
  • You have pimples or small red patches on your arms, legs, or back.
  • The bites on the skin are arranged in a straight line
  • You suffer from an allergic reaction, with very painful itching red-colored blisters. Do not scratch, or you risk serious infections!

On the bedding:

  • Sheets and pillows are stained with unexplained small traces of blood,
  • Black dots on the mattress seams are visible (bedbugs’ excrement).

How to prevent infesting your home after traveling?


When arriving from a trip abroad, the traveler must guard against an infestation of their furnished apartment rental in Paris, starting with luggage. The traveler must avoid putting bags or clothes on furniture with fabric or upholstery; instead, they should put them on a tiled floor, as in a kitchen or a bathroom. The easiest way is to place the suitcases in the bathroom while showering, wash clothes at 60 ° C (or give them to the laundry), and put them in the dryer. For unwashable sweaters at high temperatures, enclose them in an airtight bag and put them in the freezer for 48 hours at -20 ° C.


What to do when discovering traces of bed bugs?


Immediately alert the apartment owner, and if you live in a building, alert the owner and the building manager. The goal is to prevent bed bugs from passing from one furnished apartment to another.
Then, vacuum everywhere! Once the room is thoroughly cleaned, remove the bag from the vacuum cleaner, place it inside a garbage bag, and seal it before discarding it. 
Treat all your belongings where these bed bugs could hide

  • Clothes,
  • Linen (including bed linen),
  • Shoes,
  • Bags and suitcases,
  • Books and papers.

Washing linens and clothes at 60°C and then drying them in the dryer helps eliminate bedbugs. For some things, it is better to use the freezing method. The bed bugs are afraid of extreme temperatures. Therefore, place your infested items in a freezer between -18 and -25°C.
Placing bedbugs in the freezer is effective when:

  • The temperature is -20°C minimum
  • The duration of freezing treatment must be at least three days.

If you do not have a freezer, be aware that professionals offer this service—professional freezing treatment costs between 15€ and 20€ per 100L bag.

Finally, use sniffer dogs for more efficiency!
The price for a bed bug detector dog is as follows:

  • 150 euros for an area between 0 and 30 m²; 
  • 190 euros for an area between 31 and 60 m²; 
  • 230 euros for an area between 61 and 90 m².

Who's responsible for the bedbugs problem in France? Landlords or tenants?


It depends! Find out the many situations that can occur:

1. The landlord is responsible for paying for the bedbug treatment.
Suppose the tenant stayed in the rental apartment for less than a year; the landlord must demonstrate that the bedbug infestation is due to the tenant, or else the landlord will cover expenses for bed bug treatment, for the bedbugs may have been in the apartment before the tenant moved in. Moreover, suppose bed bugs infest multiple flats in the building. In that case, the bedbug issue is the building's responsibility rather than the tenant's.

The scent of a specially trained detector dog is the easiest and most reliable way to detect and locate bed bugs. The sniffer dog only needs a few minutes to find bedbugs in an apartment or hotel room. The owner can defend themselves by providing a "bed bug canine detection" certificate that is negative and dated before the rental (Costs around 200€ ).

2. The tenant is responsible for paying for the bedbug treatment.
On the other hand, if the tenant has been occupying the rental accommodation for more than a year and their apartment is the only one affected by bedbugs in the entire building, the tenant is responsible for paying the expenses of bed bug treatment. Additionally, the landlord could provide evidence that the tenant brought the bed bugs into the apartment, such as a negative bed bug detection certificate conducted before the tenant's move-in. In that case, the tenant must pay for the bedbug treatment.


How long does a landlord have to get rid of bed bugs?


If the rental accommodation does not meet the required standards of decent housing, such as with the presence of bedbugs, the tenant can ask the owner to make necessary adjustments to get rid of the bedbugs. In France, if the owner does not respond within two months, the tenant can complain to the Departmental Conciliation Commission. The tenant can also appeal to the judge.


How can a landlord prove that the tenant has brought bed bugs?


Indeed, it is complicated to prove that it is the tenant's fault for bringing bedbugs. One potential solution could be to conduct a bedbug inspection at the entry inventory, explicitly indicating the absence of bedbugs in the rental accommodation. 

Other ways to prove that the tenant has brought the bedbugs into the apartment is when the tenant has lived in the rental accommodation for more than a year, and their apartment is the single one in the entire building with bedbugs. Then, it becomes possible to prove the tenant's fault for introducing the bedbugs into the apartment.


What to do if my apartment building has bedbugs?


As a tenant, if bed bugs are present in the common areas of the building, you must inform your landlord of the bed bug problem. Then the landlord will be responsible for calling the building manager, and the co-ownership will be in charge of the costs of bedbug treatment.


Can I terminate my lease if there are bedbugs in my apartment?


In France, the tenant has the right to terminate the lease at any time by giving a notice of leave at least one month before without giving any reason. 


Can you be evicted for bed bugs?


If they are proven guilty, eviction from the apartment for bedbugs could happen because of their degradation of the rental property.

Since the tenant is responsible for the daily maintenance of the rental accommodation during the lease term, the tenant's negligence can cause damage to the property, and severe bed bug problems may also cause the lease termination. However, the owner has to follow the legal eviction procedure, and the eviction procedure is not the same depending on whether a termination clause is present in the lease agreement. 




Whoever is responsible for the bed bugs, whether landlord or tenant, don't panic, there are many ways to fight bed bugs these days. And remember to prevent the problem by taking good habits when traveling.


Sources: Dogtector, Anil,

Photo by Greg Rivers