By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A topic that will make you say BLECH: Bedbugs.

A 69-year-old Maryland woman who got an itchy rash the day she moved into her new apartment found that she had hundreds of bedbug bites. She sued her landlord and just received $800,000, the biggest bedbug lawsuit recovery so far.

There has been a huge growth in bedbug litigation, largely because of the animals who smell blood – the lawyers, that is, who know that there’s money to be made. And so landlords have begun protecting themselves.

If you’re moving into a new apartment, read the fine print because landlords are putting clauses into a lease that says that if bedbugs don’t turn up before or soon after a tenant moves in, the landlord will assume it’s the tenant who brought them and won’t be held liable. And landlords are now requiring tenants to get rental insurance to cover costs if bedding or other possessions must be thrown out because of an infestation.

If you’re a tenant, understand your rights and responsibilities. Consider getting in a cleaning service and pest control company before you move in so you don’t have to deal with the bloodsuckers. The lawyers, that is.

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