Bed Bugs and AB 551

Jamie Sternberg, Esq.


Updated July 2017


AB 551 addresses issues of bed bugs in rental housing.   It amends Civil Code §1942.5, and creates new Civil Code §1954.600-1954.605. The revised Civil Code sections are printed in the attached downloadable pdf.

Civil Code §1942.5 was amended to prohibit a landlord from retaliating against a tenant who gives notice of a suspected bed bug infestation.

Civil Code §1954.602 prohibits a landlord from showing, renting or leasing a unit that the landlord knows has bed bugs. It does not require a landlord to inspect for bed bugs, but if a bed bug infestation is apparent, the landlord is considered to have knowledge of bed bugs in the unit.

Civil Code §1954.604 addresses entry into a unit to inspect for and treat bed bugs. Landlords are required to give notice of intent to enter as specified in Civil Code §1954, and tenants are required to cooperate with inspection and requests for information to facilitate bed bug detection and treatment.

When occupied units are inspected by a licensed pest control operator, Civil Code §1954.605 requires landlords to notify tenants within two business days of receiving the pest control operator’s findings. When infestations are found in common areas, the landlord must provide the notice to all tenants.

Civil Code §1954.603 requires that a specific bed bug notice (with specific language and in at least 10 point font) to be given to new tenants on and after July 1, 2017 and to existing tenants by January 1, 2018.

To comply with the new bed bug notice requirement, landlords and property managers can:

  • Create their own notice using the language from Civil Code §1954.603, attached.
  • Utilize KTS’s “Information about Bed Bugs” notice. It is ready to serve, contains the language required by Civil Code §1954.603, and is available for $50. It can be ordered by emailing or calling (800) 574-5587.
  • Utilize Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP’s “Bed Bug and Pest Addendum”. It is a comprehensive addendum that includes the language required by AB 551, plus many other provisions that can help landlords manage bed bug and other pest infestations.  The cost is $250, and it can be ordered by emailing or calling (800) 574-5587.


Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. While KTS provides clients with information on legislative changes, our courtesy notifications are not meant to be exhaustive and do not take the place of legislative services or membership in trade associations. Our legal alerts are provided on selected topics and should not be relied upon as a complete report of all new changes of local, state, and federal laws affecting property owners and managers. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers and Legal Articles, please consult the resource section of our website.


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