Who foots bill for bedbug removal?

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Q: I moved into my current apartment a couple of months ago, after moving out of a building that I later learned had a bedbug problem. The owner of the first building knew that a few apartments were infested, but took ineffective steps and didn't tell anyone (nor did the affected tenants).

Shortly after I moved to my new place, I noticed bedbugs ... and told the landlord. He's treating the problem, but wants me to pay for it, saying I brought them in. It's possible I did -- but I got them from my former building. Isn't the landlord at my old building the one who's really responsible for the second infestation? --Matty R.

A: Your tale of woe is, unfortunately, becoming more and more familiar. Tenants who have a bedbug problem may hesitate to tell the landlord, let alone other tenants, for fear they'll be labeled a Typhoid Mary (and told to pay for the cost of eradication).

They may try to handle the problem themselves; even i...