A bed bug demand letter is the first step in taking action against a negligent party in a settlement.
(Your landlord or hotel management).
This letter sets the framework for the beginning stages of litigation.
It includes various information, such as the damage and course of action that you will take as the victim.
If you have suffered from a bed bug infestation…
It’s important to know what a bed bug demand letter is and what it entails, so you can begin the settlement process for financial compensation.
As the number of reported bed bug cases grows across the United States…
The average value of a bed bug lawsuit could be growing as well.
In this article, we will let you in on everything you need to know about bed bug letters.
- How to prepare your letter
- How to write the letter
- How to send it to your landlord or hotel management.
On that note… Lets dive in.
The Bed Bug Problem
Bed bugs have been a staple of North America since the Mayflower.
In the 1920s…
Infestations had become so common that experts couldn’t remember a time where these creatures were not a problem.
In the 1940s…
it felt like everything changed when pesticide DDT was discovered which proved successful at killing insects.
For decades it seemed like a successful chemical to help keep the world’s apartments, houses, hotels, and other living facilities bed bug-free.
Since the year 2000…
a new strain of pesticide-resistant bed bugs has terrorized North America.
With the number of reported cases rising it is clear bed bugs have made a huge comeback.
There are hundreds of thousands of complaints registered each year.
With bed bugs hiding in:
- Behind/under furniture
- Within walls and along baseboards
Most people don’t realize they have an infestation until they wake up with irritating rashes and bites all over their bodies.
(Leading to potential long term health issues)
Bed bugs have especially become a problem because they live in our bedrooms.
(A place where we want to be careful about pesticides).
In some ways, we’re still in the wild west when it comes to bed bug control, as bed bugs can hide for MONTHS and stay alive for up to a YEAR without food.
For this reason, it’s important to look for signs of bed bugs whenever you’re staying overnight at a new residence.
You Find Bed Bugs. Now What?
Once you have been bitten by bed bugs the first thing to do is seek medical treatment if your injuries are severe.
Severe bites that are left untreated can be dangerous.
After your injuries have been taken care of, you can look to seek justice for the physical, mental, and emotional damage this experience has caused you.
All states except for Arkansas require landlords and hotel owners to provide a safe and livable environment for their guests/tenants.
The key here is the implied warranty of habitability, which requires property owners to provide a safe and habitable living space for their tenants and customers.
Nobody wants to go to court if there’s a possibility of resolving an issue without litigation.
Introducing The Bed Bug Demand Letter
If you feel that you have grounds for a lawsuit…
You can start the negotiation process by sending a personal demand letter.
This letter sets up the discussion between you and your opponent detailing certain events such as:
In this section you layout the experiences you had with a bed bug infestation, detailing when you first noticed the infestation, discussing your injuries, and activities you have undergone to eradicate the bed bugs.
Here you can talk about all of the financial damage that the infestation has caused you.
This can include:
- Hospital bills
- Cost of medication
- Costs of professional treatment
- Lost belongings
- Damaged furniture
- Lost Wages
- Ruined Vacation
Total Amount In Settlement:
This is the amount in damages that you’re looking for.
Make sure to request a number that is within reason, you can always take a look at the average settlement value in 2020 as a reference point.
You can also consult our bed bug specialists and attorneys for more information on determining this amount.
After you submit and send your demand letter.
If your efforts to end the dispute do not succeed…
You can then choose to file a complaint in small claims court to help resolve this unfortunate situation.
The Bed Bug Letter to Your Landlord
Many courts make it mandatory to write a formal demand for compensation before you file suit.
Though even if filing this letter isn’t required legally, there are a couple of reasons why sending a demand letter makes sense for you.
- Whether or not this case settles, organizing your position in a professionally written letter ensures that your position is clear to all parties. At the end of the day you have to prove your case with evidence, and your demand letter sets your position, and explains why you should win.
- Often times the demand letter acts as the catalyst to the settlement. Laying out the reasons that you’re owed money shows your seriousness and ability to take action, informing the other party that you’re not going to simply just disappear. Therefore your chances of getting what you want increase exponentially when you put ink to paper.
Preparing Your Bed Bug Letter
When crafting the letter, be sure to keep your thoughts together and goals at the forefront.
It’s encouraged that you and your adversary deal with the situation in a business-like manner.
Here are some examples of questions that your defendant will be pondering:
How much time and money will it take me to pose a strong defense?
Will I lose in the end?
If I do end up losing how much money is it going to cost me?
If I settle this now, will I lose less money than if this goes to court?
If we don’t settle, how much will it hurt me if this goes public?
How do I get out of this?
Things To Keep In Mind
Keep it simple and stick to the facts:
Though your opponent knows the story…
It’s imperative that you rehash all of the details.
Your opponent is going to easily remember the facts differently.
(People tend to remember the things that benefit ONLY THEMSELVES)
So it’s important that you have a clear record of the dispute.
Ask for the money you want in a simple way…
Don’t muddy the waters with unnecessary information by beating around the bush.
Explain in a calculative manner how you arrived at this number.
(Basically add up the total value of your losses)
Set a Deadline:
Usually a couple of weeks is best, anything longer than that and your opponent has little motivation to deal with the situation.
Supply an actual date and follow that by showing you will pursue legal action if necessary.
Bed Bug Demand Letter Sample
For better reference, here is an example of a bed bug demand letter by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing.
[LANDLORD CITY, STATE, ZIP]
Re: Tenant at [TENANT ADDRESS AND UNIT NUMBER]
Dear [LANDLORD NAME]
I, [TENANT NAME], am writing this letter to notify you of a known or suspected bed bug infestation at my address [TENANT ADDRESS AND UNIT NUMBER]. I suspect my apartment is infested with bed bugs because I saw bed bugs and/or the residents in my unit have bites, stings, irritations or sores believed to be caused by bed bugs.
According to the Municipal Code of Chicago Section 7-28-830, it is your responsibility, as the landlord, to provide extermination services by a pest management professional within ten days of receipt of this letter, as many times as necessary to totally eliminate the bed bug infestation. You are also to maintain a written record of the pest control services provided by the pest management professional. The Municipal Code requires you to conduct an inspection, and if necessary, the treatment of the two dwelling units on either side of the affected dwelling unit and the two units directly above and below the affected dwelling unit. The failure to inspect and treat the bed bugs may violate the Municipal Code of Chicago, which carries fines of $300.00 to $1,000.00 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues constitutes a separate and distinct offense with a separate fine.
Further, pursuant to Section 5-12-110 under the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”), this serves as notice of my intention to withhold from the monthly rent an amount which reasonably reflects the reduced value of the premises due to the material noncompliance caused by the bed bugs if you fail to correct the condition within fourteen days after receipt of this notice, I will deduct [AMOUNT] from my rent beginning [DATE]. Also, under the RLTO it is unlawful for you to terminate my tenancy or increase my rents because I complained of defects in my unit.
Sincerely, [TENANT NAME]
[TENANT ADDRESS AND UNIT]
[TENANT CITY, STATE ZIP]
[OPTIONALLY INCLUDE TENANT PHONE NUMBER AND/OR EMAIL ADDRESS
Bed Bug Complaint Letter to Hotel
If you experienced bed bugs at a hotel:
And you don’t beileve the hotel took proper steps to deal with an infestation…
You can begin with a letter addressed to the hotel’s corporate headquarters.
If you stayed at a chain hotel, you will likely have better luck getting in touch with the corporate office.
In order to pursue further legal action against the hotel, you will need evidence to prove the negligence and damages.
This evidence includes the following:
- Medical bills – All costs associated with the treatment of your injuries
- Lost wages – Lost time at work while you were recovering from your injuries
- Pictures of bed bugs (The nest, eggs, feces)
Also as a bonus, try and include proof of negligence.
Examples of negligence include:
- The hotel was previously aware of the infestation and failed to take action to address it properly.
- The hotel took some action but it was considered inappropriate or incompetent action to address the bed bug problem.
Contact Our Bed Bug Specialists & Attorneys
For more information about getting help with your case contact our expert team who can help you through the process.
We’ll provide support to ensure that you receive the representation you deserve, and that you and your loved ones don’t have to suffer because of the negligence of your landlord, hotel management, or staff.
If you came in contact with bed bugs, submit your case information to get a free consultation from a licensed attorney.
No fees unless you win your case.