Following an increase in consumer complaints regarding bed bugs in rental housing units, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges tenants to know state law when faced with a pest control problem

A letter from the attorney general’s office to county health department officials outlined tenant’s specific complaints, including infestations of bed bugs and being charged extermination fees whether or not the bed bugs originated in their unit.

“Dealing with bed bugs is never a pleasant experience,” Morrisey said. “However, it’s important to understand what is lawfully permitted in the landlord-tenant relationship so that everyone is treated fairly and justly.”

The landlord is responsible for maintaining habitable housing and cannot pass that responsibility onto the tenant under West Virginia law. Also, requiring tenants to pay extermination fees without proof the tenant caused the infestation violates the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

Those with questions can contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.