What does Washington DC law say about bed bugs in rental housing?

Under current DC law, tenants are responsible for paying to treat bed bug infestations in their rental properties unless they can prove that neighbors are the source of the infestations.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who represents Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, and other Northwest neighborhoods, introduced a bill known as B23-0045, or the Bed Bug Control Act of 2019, which remains “under council review” in Washington, D.C.

Bedbug Control Act of 2019

  • Introduced by Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau in January 2019.
  • Requires landlords to provide notice of an infestation to tenants sharing party walls, floors and ceilings with the infested unit.
  • Requires owners to furnish each tenant signing or renewing a lease with a notice of the 12-month history of infestation before signing a lease and provide information about the prevention, detection and removal of bedbugs and other insect infestations.
  • Requires landlords and pest control operators to report to DCRA any outbreak of infestations.
  • Allows DCRA to inspect any dwelling where there is a sworn statement by a licensed exterminator of a likely suspicion of an infestation after repeated infestations of a property sharing a party wall.
  • Creates a fund to assist qualifying homeowners with the costs of abating bedbugs.

Current laws don’t fully protect homeowners and tenants.

  • There is no way for occupants living in units or property adjoining an infestation to be aware of the potential threat that can spread to their property.
  • There is no way for anyone to find out if there is an infestation in their unit before they rent unless they submit a FOIA request to DCRA or ask potential neighbors (who might not be aware of past infestations).
  • There is no legal authority for DCRA or DOH to investigate private residences suspected of harboring bedbug infestations.

Who will this bill help?

  • Tenants who need notice to prevent bedbugs from spreading.
  • Potential tenants who should know their apartment’s history.
  • Homeowners who need assistance abating the infestation or to address infestation in adjoining property.
  • Washingtonians, who will see reduced overall infestation.

To view the bill or full press release click the links below:



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