My apartment is infested with bedbugs and my landlord won't do anything.

I discovered that my apartment was infested with bedbugs on the 2nd of June when I woke up with several red rashes on my arm. More than three weeks later, the bedbugs are still there. My landlord has dragged his feet this entire time, ignoring my voicemails. Instead of hiring a professional exterminator, he has tried to save money by steaming the room himself and buying all sorts of ineffective sprays for me to use. Obviously, none of this has worked. He has agreed to hire a professional several times but somehow he never does. In the meantime, I have been sleeping on my friend’s couch. I am sick to death of this ordeal. Every day I get more frustrated.

I know I need to put pressure on my landlord to get him to do something, but I have no idea how. Is there an organization I can contact? The police? I would appreciate any advice. I live in Chicago, if that matters. Also, if you have stories about your bedbug experience, please commiserate with me.

Open an escrow account at your bank. Send your rent checks there.

Money talks.

Take your laundry and bedding over to his house to show him the bugs. I bet that would alarm him enough to spur some action.

Read up on renters rights in Chicago. I haven’t ever lived there, but in many big cities renters have a lot of legal protections, to keep slum lords in check. You may have the option of withholding rent, breaking the lease without penalty, paying for a professional exterminator and taking that out of the rent, getting the local board of health to cite the landlord, etc. But to do so you may need to follow some specific steps so that you remain legally in the right – perhaps a series of certified letters, or inspections by the local board of health. Many landlords will blow off their renters as long as possible, but will quickly capitulate when they face actual legal trouble.

There are plenty of other Dopers that rent in Chicago and they will probably be along shortly to
(give more specific advice)

…be silenced by a murderous landlord?

Since you’re looking for advice, I’ll move this to our advice forum, IMHO (from MPSIMS).

Do you have individually controlled heat and A/C? Do you pay for utilities seperately? If the LL pays the utilities, then you can take care of it at his expense, and without his input.

Because I’ve read that heat is really the best approach. If you can turn the heater allt he way up to 100 (Or however high your thermostat goes) and then put a space heater in each room, you’re golden. It will cost quite a bit in gas/electricity/oil whatever your place runs on.

The other side of the coin is that if you’ve got them, others probably do too. I’d put up a sign in a central area warning the residents that bedbugs are in the building. There’s bound to be somebody there with a lawyer relative. :wink: I don’t think they re-infest from one apt to the next as quickly as roaches and the like, but I’d think they would eventually make their way back in if the whole building isn’t treated.

I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. Few things are as instrusive as creepy-crawlies in your home.

ETA: Here’s a bit about what not to do:

You might also contact the city and report the infestation. They will put pressure on him to deal with it.

I highly recommend the Metropolitan Tenants Organization - they have been very helpful to me in the past.