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Boston, Massachusetts Bed Bug Laws, Information & Resources

"Bed bugs Massachusetts problems are similar to those found in other North Eastern states. One expert estimated that bed bugs infest one in four public housing units in Western Massachusetts. Luckily, the laws in Massachusetts protect tenants, lessors and others that live in apartments by requiring that landlords or building managers treat bed bugs."   

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Bed Aug Apartment Lessor Information

Massachusetts bed bug law protects the tenant and requires that a landlord both treat and pay for extermination.

As noted on the site

The site recommends that if you rent an apartment  in Massachusetts and have bed bugs, you should:

  1.  Write a letter to your landlord right away;
  2.  Put the date in the letter;
  3. Tell the landlord or building manager about the bedbugs, and ask him to hire a licensed exterminator to inspect and treat your home right away;
  4. Keep a copy of your letter.

Next, call the Board of Health for your town and get an inspection (see partial list below). The Board of Health may need to inspect neighboring apartments and stop the bedbugs from spreading further. The Board of Health will write a report documenting the bed bugs. They will cite the landlord and order fumigation.

You may want to research signs of bedbug infestation and point them out to the inspector if he doesn't see anything on his own.

If the landlord is not fixing the bedbug infestation, you have the right to stop paying your rent until the problem is fixed. You should save the rent in the bank. Please also see our brochure What to Do about Bad Conditions for more information on keeping your rent until the bedbug problem is fixed.

If there are dirty or cluttered conditions in your home which are contributing to the infestation, the Board of Health may also cite you. This does not happen often, however.

It is very important to call the Board of Health as soon as you see bedbugs. Later on, if you have to go to court, a judge might not believe you about the date you first saw bedbugs, especially if the landlord disagrees with you and tells the judge a different story. But a judge will always believe the inspector if the dated inspection report said you had bedbugs

There is also language that can be found in Massachusetts landlord tenant law regarding  insects, which would directly apply to Massachusetts tenant bed bug problems.  The section of law is listed below:

410.550: Extermination of Insects, Rodents and Skunks:

(A) The occupant of a dwelling containing one dwelling unit shall maintain the unit free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation, and shall be responsible for exterminating them, provided, however, that the owner shall maintain any screen, fence or other structural element necessary to keep rodents and skunks from entering the dwelling.

(B) The owner of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units shall maintain it and its premises free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation and shall be responsible for exterminating them.

(C) The owner of a rooming house shall maintain it and its premises free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation, and shall be responsible for exterminating them.

(D) Extermination shall be accomplished by eliminating the harborage places of insects and rodents, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food or breeding ground, by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination method. All use of pesticides within the interior of a dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house, or mobile home shall be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations of the Department of Food and Agriculture's Pesticide Board, including those appearing at 333 CMR 13.00, which provide, among other things, that pesticide applicators or their employers must give at least 48 hours pre-notification to occupants of all residential units prior to any routine commercial application of pesticides for the control of indoor household or structural indoor pests.

Massachusetts Bed Bug Resources

Massachusetts Bed Bug FAQ - From Massachusetts department of health (PDF Download)

Multi-tenant dwelling regulations (PDF Download) - find the laws that dictate that the landlord is responsible for bed bugs problems in Massachusetts

Bedbug Questions & Answers
 - Bed Bug Somerville information from the department of health

Massachusetts Bed Bugs News Reports

Bedbugs make resurgence in Western Massachusetts

Resurgence Of Bed Bugs In Massachusetts
- CBS Boston Bed Bugs information

Bed Bugs Massachusetts Treatment

Treatment in Boston and other areas of the state can cost as much as $350 for a studio apartment and $1,500 for a single family home. Because of the high cost it pays to get estimates from several local exterminators. 

One convenient way to do this is to make a call to Home Advisor or visit them online. They pre-screen local Massachusetts bed bug pest control experts and certify that they are licensed and insured. Members of the network will provide up to 4 free quotes.

You can also search our online database of bed bug exterminators.

If an infestation is small or to save money you can purchase the combination of products needed to properly treat bed bugs. We would suggest purchasing either an insecticide based kit or one that contains organic bed bug products.

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