Landlords Face Harsher Penalties for Bed Bugs

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In an effort to squash bed bug infestation in the city, officials announced Tuesday a policy change that could give landlords stiffer penalties for being lax in their response to infestations.

The City Council along with housing and health officials said property owners are now required to follow a strict set of treatment measures when they discover bed begs.

Landlords and property managers are also required to use a licensed pest control professional and employ a variety of treatment strategies rather than depending on chemical pesticides alone. 

The City Council said in a statement that if bed bugs persist, "owners are required to notify tenants" about the issue and "develop and distribute a building-wide Pest Manage Plan to all tenants."

Owners must also verify with Department of Health that the infestation has been properly treated. Those who don't are subject to fines and may end up with a lien on their property

Prior to the new rules, property owners were only slapped with a housing violation until the building was cleaned up.

Last summer, the state passed the Bed Bug Tenant Disclosure Law, which requires landlords to disclose the history of infestation to prospective tenants before the lease is signed.

Mustaciuolo said that the new procedures come after HDP received 12,768 complaints about bed bugs in 2010 and issued 4,808 violations.

To coincide with the new rules, the City Council has launched a new "web-based, bed-bug tool."


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