AB 551 changed California law and imposed additional requirements on landlords to disclose more information on bed bugs when renting property to tenants. The new laws become effective on July 1, 2017 for new tenants, and will become effective on January 1, 2018 for existing tenants.
While the new law requires more than just providing the tenant with a bed bug notice, this blog post is limited to the bed bug notice only as required under the new California Civil Code 1954.603.
For new tenants, the landlord must make the disclosures required by Civil Code 1954.603 beginning on July 1, 2017. For existing tenants, landlords must make the disclosure by January 1, 2018.
Here’s what the new Civil Code 1954.603 says:
On and after July 1, 2017, prior to creating a new tenancy for a dwelling unit, a landlord shall provide a written notice to the prospective tenant as provided in this section. This notice shall be provided to all other tenants by January 1, 2018. The notice shall be in at least 10-point type and shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) General information about bed bug identification, behavior and biology, the importance of cooperation for prevention and treatment, and the importance of and for prompt written reporting of suspected infestations to the landlord. The information shall be in substantially the following form:
Information about Bed Bugs
Bed bug Appearance: Bed bugs have six legs. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about 1/4 of an inch in length. Their color can vary from red and brown to copper colored. Young bed bugs are very small. Their bodies are about 1/16of an inch in length. They have almost no color. When a bed bug feeds, its body swells, may lengthen, and becomes bright red, sometimes making it appear to be a different insect. Bed bugs do not fly. They can either crawl or be carried from place to place on objects, people, or animals. Bed bugs can be hard to find and identify because they are tiny and try to stay hidden.
Life Cycle and Reproduction: An average bed bug lives for about 10 months. Female bed bugs lay one to five eggs per day. Bed bugs grow to full adulthood in about 21 days. Bed bugs can survive for months without feeding
Bed bug Bites: Because bed bugs usually feed at night, most people are bitten in their sleep and do not realize they were bitten. A person’s reaction to insect bites is an immune response and so varies from person to person. Sometimes the red welts caused by the bites will not be noticed until many days after a person was bitten, if at all
Common signs and symptoms of a possible bed bug infestation:
- Small red to reddish brown fecal spots on mattresses, box springs, bed frames, mattresses, linens, upholstery, or walls.
- Molted bed bug skins, white, sticky eggs, or empty eggshells.
- Very heavily infested areas may have a characteristically sweet odor.
- Red, itchy bite marks, especially on the legs, arms, and other body parts exposed while sleeping. However, some people do not show bed bug lesions on their bodies even though bed bugs may have fed on them.
For more information, see the Internet Web sites of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the National Pest Management Association.
(b) The procedure to report suspected infestations to the landlord.
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