Does Your Bedbug Lease Addendum Have HUD Approval?

In 2012, HUD issued Housing Notice 2012-5 to provide guidance on preventing and responding to pest infestations, particularly bedbugs, at HUD-assisted sites. As a result of this guidance, many sites added Bedbug Lease Addendums to the HUD Model Lease that contained provisions that may conflict with current guidance.

In 2019, HUD issued a memo reiterating that sites that add a lease addendum must get HUD approval (See “Get HUD Approval for Lease Modifications,” available to subscribers here). And in reviewing addendums for approval, the memo says HUD staff should consider that:

  • The model lease: (a) requires the landlord to provide extermination services, as necessary; (b) requires the tenant to keep the unit clean; and (c) allows for the resident to be charged for damages caused by the resident’s carelessness, misuse, or neglect.
  • Rental assistance, owner advances, and reserve for replacement funds may be used to control infestations.
  • Sites should have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, including resident education on bedbugs.
  • A regular, proactive inspection program by management is a crucial component of IPM.

A lease addendum that duplicates or contradicts these provisions will be denied. For example, language that shifts the cost of extermination to the resident isn’t allowed. Unless you can show that the infestation was caused by the resident’s neglect, shifting the extermination cost to the resident isn’t acceptable.

Also, placing the burden of inspection on residents isn’t allowed. You should have an educational program to help residents understand the importance of prevention. When bedbugs are present, you must conduct regular inspections and exterminate.

While a Bedbug Lease Addendum is optional, HUD requires owners to attach certain documents to the HUD Model Lease, depending on which HUD program the site participates in. To make sure your leases are complete, see our February 2020 feature, “The Risk of the Incomplete Lease,” available to subscribers here.