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Zip tight, don't let the Bed Bugs Bite.

IF OBLIGATORY renters insurance was the "management move" of 2010, mandatory'' mattress encasements could be the next step for 2011.

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While it's nearly impossible to prevent residents from bringing bed bugs into their apartments, some owners are beginning to require "bed-bug-proof" mattress and box spring encasements for units found to have (and subsequently treated for) bed bugs.

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Victoria Cowart, President of the South Carolina Apartment Association and Vice President of Property Management for Charleston-based Darby Development Company Inc., says her company purchases the encasements from Protect-A-Bed, a Northbrook, Ill, supplier that Cowart discovered at the 2009 NAA Education Conference & Exposition. The encasements feature a patented three-sided zipper and double-stitched seams, both of which make the product completely bed bug escape- and entry-proof, according to the manufacturer.

The queen-sized box spring and mattress encasement is less than $65, including shipping, Cowart says, a relatively cheap alternative to throwing out an infested mattress. Darby Development orders the encasements on behalf of its residents and requires them to repay the cost. Pillow encasements also are available, but Cowart says these are not mandatory, as pillows are much easier and less expensive to discard.

"We had one resident who was not paying for the mattress encasement and that issue eventually went to court, but we haven't had any other resistance from residents," Cowart says. "It's a great idea for the price."--NAA 's Lauren Boston
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Title Annotation:Bed Bugs
Publication:Units
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:235
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