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Creepy Crawly: Avvo Legal Advisory Highlights Growing Bedbug Epidemic

Twice as many consumer questions about bedbugs from same period last year underscores need for greater awareness and education about landlord and tenant laws 

Seattle, Wash – June 19, 2012 Avvo, Inc., the web’s largest expert-only health and legal Q&A forum and directory, today released an Avvo Legal Advisory (ALA) that demonstrates the growing need for consumer education around Landlord and Tenant laws related to bedbugs and other household pests.  Questions on Avvo.com about bedbugs have nearly doubled over the same period last year, reflective of the growing bedbug infestation nationwide.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)[1], reported instances of bedbugs are increasing to “a near pandemic state,” noting that “bedbug encounters have become much more common in public places than the previous year, in some instances increasing by 10, 20 or nearly 30 percent.” Bedbugs typically live in mattresses, couches or bedding and are rarely larger than a poppy seed, which makes them hard to spot, according to the NPMA.

Avvo identified the following trends related to consumers’ concern of bedbugs:

    • More than 85 percent of the bedbug questions on Avvo.com were asked by tenants versus landlords who asked only 9 percent of the questions.
    • 45 percent of the questions had to do with a tenant’s legal rights and 31 percent were questions from tenants asking who is responsible for eradicating the bedbug problem
    • Consumers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York posted the greatest number of questions on Avvo.com related to bedbugs. Taking into account population density, 26 percent of all bedbug related questions are from Ohio, 22 percent are from Pennsylvania, and 21 percent are from New York.

 

To date, only twenty states have statutes addressing bedbugs, with only 10 states[2] specifically addressing bedbug infestation in rental properties and hotels.

“Most consumers have seen pictures and heard horror stories about bedbugs, but very few know what their rights are when it comes to taking legal action,” said Frances Campbell of Campbell & Farahani, LLP, specializing in tenant’s rights.  “Furthermore, as the infestation grows, there is increased demand for legislation – including a new federal bedbug Bill that is being considered by Congressional committee members -- to give consumers greater protections.”

Avvo Legal Advisories (ALA) are compiled from data from Avvo’s broad user base and community of licensed professionals, as well as analysis of questions asked in Avvo’s Q&A forum which receives more than 75,000 legal and health questions and answers every month.

About Avvo, Inc.

Avvo provides a health and legal Q&A forum and directory which rates and profiles 90 percent of all doctors, dentists and lawyers in the U.S. Avvo is privately held with funding from Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Ignition Partners.

 



[1] 2011 press release

[2] Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota and West Virginia