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New York Changes Laws Regarding Bedbugs for Building Owners

Posted by Melvin Monachan | Jan 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

According to Orkin, a national extermination company, New York City ranks 8th in the country for most cases of bedbugs. This is an improvement over 2015 and 2016 where the city ranked 4th. The leaders included Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and Columbus, OH. Lawmakers made a change in November to Local Law 69 of the Administrative Code regarding bedbugs. This change applies to residential buildings with three or more units. It requires owners to provide reports concerning the presence of bedbugs when issuing a new lease or renewing a lease. In addition, these reports must be posted in the building. A copy of this report must also be submitted electronically to the city annually. Many smaller landlords have complained that maintaining compliance with the increasing types of regulations is difficult. Many feel that these new laws are meant for those who own larger commercial buildings that may have a staff on hand to address these requirements. Thus far, the law does not explain the penalties for non-compliance.

The electronically filed reports with the city will be publically posted, in part as a resource for those potentially purchasing residential buildings. Building owners feel that this is yet another recent regulation that may have a potentially negative impact on the value of the properties. The reports will contain any history of bedbug infestation that existed in the prior year, regardless of if the problem was successfully corrected. Some owners say that they may potentially not be aware of bedbug infestation unless the tenant notifies them of the problem.

Those who recently have purchased or plan to purchase an applicable multi-unit residential building will need to obtain any such history from the prior year. The data contained in the report will include the following:

  • The building address & total number of units
  • The number of units with known infestations
  • The number of units where “eradication” efforts were made
  • The number of units where the eradication efforts were not successful

Bedbugs are largely recognized to be among the more stubborn pests to exterminate. It is critical to use a professional contractor with the necessary tools, training, and knowledge. Owners and building management should notify tenants in adjacent units in advance when pesticides will be used.

The law states that owners and occupants must keep the dwelling free from rodents, infestations of insects, and conditions that are attractive to them. When infestations exist, owners and occupants are to diligently and continuously apply eradication methods. These methods may include employing traps, poisons, disinfection, or others. If the department determines that a dwelling is infested, it may order eradication based on their discretion when necessary. Owners must provide those entering a lease with a copy of the property's bedbug infestation report for the prior year. The department may also order the elimination of any harborages for rodents and insects. This may include building materials, boxes, cartons, barrels, animal feed or other food sources that attract such nuisances.

About the Author

Melvin Monachan

Melvin Monachan is the founder of The Law Office of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, a full service, real estate law firm representing individuals, investors and corporate entities in all aspects of real estate law. On the transactional side, Melvin represents purchasers and...

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