Renter upset they're on the hook for bed bug treatment that damaged unit

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): Bed bugs, many of us hear that and instantly cringe. A woman contacted our Whistleblower hotline saying they're being slapped with a $1,200 bill for bed bug treatment. That same treatment damaged the apartment's walls, kitchen and carpeting.

"Anything is possible," said Stephanie Walters "I got cracks along my, you know cracks in the walls, holes in the walls. It's very easy for a bug to crawl through."

But Walters wants to know why is the cost is so high? Walters says their rental company has turned them over to collections. Valley News Live learns it's a buyer beware situation and you need to know what you're potentially going to have to pay for when looking to move.

"Frustrating because I was like they say you've got to box things that can't be heated, I was like well what's the things that can't be heated," asked Walters.

Earlier this year, Walters says she found a bug crawling in her first floor apartment. She put it in a bag and called her landlord. They showed up with a pest control expert and it was bed bugs.

"You know these are all the rules of what we would have to do. We would have to, we wouldn't bag anything. They said they would heat up our apartment, between 120 or more," stated Walters.

They moved their furniture away from the walls and waited until the treatment was done. But it worked maybe a little too well.

"They left some damages like the carpet over there sticking up. That line on the wall. That was never there when I moved in," said Walters

The counter edges are splitting apart, the microwave handle cracked and a bedroom wall cracked too along with more carpet issues.

Walters says it's not that she wouldn't pay for the treatment out of her pocket, but she wanted to know why it was so expensive when friends and family had only paid several hundred dollars in similar situations.

Valley News Live reached out to Property Resources Group, Walters' landlord. They told us they wouldn't talk on camera, but we had to submit questions in an email. We asked: what is their policy regarding bed bugs, who is responsible for paying the costs incurred for treatment, does Property Resources Group have an agreement with a local exterminator, do tenants have the option to 'shop around' for pest control and what is stipulated in the lease agreement when it comes to pest control?

They answered "our company does take extermination very seriously. We do provide professional pest control services for residents for general services every 3 months and commons area. We do have a clause in our lease that lease holders will be charged for pest extermination if it’s a special service. We use one vendor/ Exterminator which is typical for most management companies."

If you're looking to move, make sure things are spelled out in your lease agreement as to who has to cover when in terms of pest control. If there's nothing spelled out, have a conversation with your landlord about the issue. And even if your rental agency only uses one pest control company, shop around to make sure you know how much things will generally cost and to make sure you aren't being overcharged.

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