10 Bed Bugs: Legal Issues


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4th Annual Bed Bug Summit sponsored by the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force

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10 Bed Bugs: Legal Issues

  1. 1. 2011 Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force Summit <ul><li>BED BUG SEMINAR </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors: </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Willis </li></ul><ul><li>Willis Law Firm, LLC </li></ul><ul><li>141 E. Town Street, Suite 200 </li></ul><ul><li>Columbus, Ohio 43215 </li></ul><ul><li>P. 614.324.0442 </li></ul><ul><li>F. 614.324.0460 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.willislawohio.com </li></ul><ul><li>Paul G. Wilkins </li></ul><ul><li>Supervising Attorney, OSU Legal Clinic </li></ul><ul><li>33 West 11 th Avenue, Suite 209 </li></ul><ul><li>Columbus, Ohio 43210 </li></ul><ul><li>P. 614-247-5853 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 2. § 5321.04 Obligations of Landlord <ul><li>(A) A Landlord who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety; </li></ul><ul><li>2. Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises; </li></ul><ul><li>3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition. </li></ul>
  3. 3. § 5321.05 Obligations of Tenant <ul><li>(A) A Tenant who is party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following… </li></ul><ul><li>1. Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary; </li></ul><ul><li>5. Comply with the requirements imposed in tenants by all applicable state and local housing, health, and safety codes;… </li></ul><ul><li>9. (B) The Tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the Landlord to enter… </li></ul>
  4. 4. § 5321.06 Rental Agreement Terms <ul><li>A Landlord and a Tenant may include in a Rental Agreement any terms and conditions, including any term relating to rent, the duration of an agreement, and any other provision governing the rights and obligations of the parties that are not inconsistent with or prohibited by Chapter 5321.of the Revised Code or any other rule of law. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Title 45 HOUSING CODE OF THE COLUMBUS CITY CODES <ul><li>Article VII. General Regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 4551 RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS </li></ul>
  6. 6. 4551.01 Responsibility of owner <ul><li>Responsibilities of owners and occupants include, but are not limited to, the following areas: </li></ul><ul><li>(f) Pest elimination. The owner is responsible for elimination of any insects, rats, or other pests in a dwelling containing two (2) or more dwelling units and on the premises thereof. He is also responsible whenever the infestation is caused by improper rat-proofing of the premises. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 4551.02 Responsibility of Occupant <ul><li>(f) Pest Elimination. The occupant is responsible for elimination of any insects, rats, or other pests within that part of the premises occupied and controlled by him in a single family dwelling or in a dwelling containing two (2) or more dwelling units if his unit is the only one infested unless infestation of the premises was caused by improper rat-proofing. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Dayton Municipal Code 93.46(B) <ul><li>Every owner of a dwelling shall be responsible for: </li></ul><ul><li>- The extermination of insects, rodents or other pests except that if there are two or more dwelling units in a dwelling and only one dwelling is infested, the occupant of such infested dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination therein. </li></ul>
  9. 9. TROY, OHIO <ul><li>1307.01 STANDARDS AND ADOPTION OF CODE. </li></ul><ul><li>The International Property Maintenance Code, 2006 edition, as published by the International Code Council, be and is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance and Housing Code of the City of Troy, for regulating and governing the condition and maintenance of all property, building and structures. (Ord. 32-2007. Passed 6-18-07.) </li></ul>
  10. 10. IPMC Section 308 Extermination <ul><li>308.01 Infestation. All structures shall be kept free from insect and rodent infestation. All structures in which insects or rodents are found shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes that will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to prevent re-infestation. </li></ul>
  11. 11. IPMC Section 308 Extermination <ul><li>308.2 Owner. The owner of any structure shall be responsible for extermination within the structure prior to renting or leasing the structure. </li></ul>
  12. 12. IPMC Section 308 Extermination <ul><li>308.3 Single Occupant. The occupant of a one-family dwelling or of a single-tenant nonresidential structure shall be responsible for extermination on the premises. </li></ul>
  13. 13. IPMC Section 308 Extermination <ul><li>308.4 Multiple Occupancy. The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a multiple occupancy, a rooming house or a nonresidential structure shall be responsible for extermination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestations in the area occupied, the occupant shall be responsible for extermination. </li></ul>
  14. 14. IPMC Section 308 Extermination <ul><li>308.5 Occupant. The occupant of any structure shall be responsible for the continued rodent and pest-free condition of the structure. </li></ul>
  15. 15. 5321.11 Failure Of Tenant To Fulfill Obligations-Remedies Of Landlords (The Cure Notice) <ul><li>If the tenant fails to fulfill any obligation imposed upon him by section 5321.05 of the Revised Code that materially affects health and safety…landlord may deliver written notice, specifying acts or omissions…rental agreement will terminate 30 days…if the tenant fails to remedy, “The rental agreement shall terminate” </li></ul>
  16. 16. 5321.07 Notice to Remedy Condition, Escrow, Lease Termination <ul><li>(A) If a landlord fails to fulfill any obligation imposed on him by section 5321.04…or the rental agreement,…the tenant may give notice in writing… </li></ul><ul><li>(B) If a landlord…fails to remedy the condition within a reasonable time…or within 30 days, whichever is sooner , and the tenant is current in rent, the tenant may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 Escrow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 Ask for Court order to reduce rent and/or use money to make repair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Terminate the lease. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. 5321.09 Landlord application for release of rent ( A) A landlord who receives notice that rent due him has been deposited with a clerk of a municipal or county Court pursuant to section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, may do the following : <ul><li>1. Conditions in 5321.05 notice has been remedied </li></ul><ul><li>2. Tenant did not provide 5321.07 notice or was not current in their rent… </li></ul><ul><li>3. No violation of any obligation under 5321.04 or lease… </li></ul><ul><li>(C) If above conditions found to be true Court releases funds to landlord… </li></ul><ul><li>(D) If the Court finds that the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code was the result of an act or omission of the tenant, or that the tenant intentionally acted in bad faith in proceeding under section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, the tenant shall be liable for damages caused to the landlord and costs, together with reasonable attorney’s fees if the tenant intentionally acted in bad faith. </li></ul>
  18. 18. HUD NOTICE H 2011-20 <ul><li>Guidelines on bed bugs applicable to all multifamily properties with active HUD insured, HUD-held or Direct Loans, Section 202 or 811 Capital Advances, Project-Based Rental Assistance Contracts, and/or HUD USE Agreements </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Conundrum <ul><li>Tenant’s side </li></ul><ul><li>Landlord’s side </li></ul>
  20. 20. TENANT <ul><li>Anyone can get bed bugs. </li></ul><ul><li>Not linked to unclean conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty preparing for treatment (physical/mental/economic) </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility for cost </li></ul><ul><li>Self treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Cash strapped tenants </li></ul><ul><li>To notify or not to notify landlord </li></ul><ul><li>Landlords duty to disclose </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of response from landlord </li></ul><ul><li>Acquiring used furniture (especially curbside) </li></ul>
  21. 21. LANDLORD <ul><li>Anyone can get bed bugs </li></ul><ul><li>Not attracted by condition of apartment/ insects of convenience </li></ul><ul><li>Landlord cannot control-clothing, suitcases, storage boxes, furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Tenant’s failure to notify </li></ul><ul><li>Self treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Tenant’s failure to prepare for treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Reintroduction after treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Cash-strapped owners </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility for cost </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to allow entry </li></ul>