Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian’s bed bug legislation, AB 551, has won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The full Senate is expected to take up the bill when the Legislature returns from its summer break. In the meantime, CAA will work with Nazarian to refine the proposal.

Assemblyman Adin Nazarian
Assemblyman Adin Nazarian

Nazarian, a Democrat from Van Nuys, authored the bill as bed bug infestations continue to spike both in California and across the United States.

Despite the spread of these bloodsucking pests, California law hasn’t adequately defined the role that apartment owners and renters must play in preventing and killing these bugs.

Nazarian’s bill addresses this by offering specifics. And it starts with education.

Under AB 551, landlords must provide tenants with information about bed bug prevention. And tenants can’t knowingly bring items into apartments if they suspect they have bed bugs.

If tenants suspect their apartment is infested, they must tell the landlord, who then must hire a pest control company to check it out. If an infestation is confirmed, the landlord has to notify the tenants and have a pest control operator prepare and implement a bed bug treatment program.

Tenants then have to cooperate with pest control operators and make sure their personal property doesn’t interfere with treatment.

This bill ensures protection for both tenants and landlords who do what they’re supposed to do.

It protects landlords from liability for any delays in treatment that are beyond their control and allows the landlord to serve the tenant with a notice to comply and a potential eviction notice if the tenant doesn’t cooperate.

The bill does not address whether the landlord or tenant must pay for treatment.

“If fault can be determined, an owner may want to try to recover some costs from the responsible resident. However, even if it is a particular tenant’s fault, if it spreads to other units due to lack of prompt action from the owner, the owner may be liable to those other residents,” CAA’s Issue Insight paper says.