A new law is being approved for New York City that would make it so mandatory for landlords to share the bed bug history of their properties. Under the terms of this law they must present in writing to their tenants a history of any infestations. The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development would also be responsible for posting buildings bed bug history on their website. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, there are a couple of issues with this law as it has been put into effect.
First, there is already a law mandating that landlords disclose any infestations that have occurred within the last year. This information is much more important than a total bed bug history of the unit, as a bed bug infestation occurring in the last couple of months is much more relevant than one that occurred five years ago. The new law also has no penalties associated with failing to disclose a properties bed bug history, although the already existing disclosure law mandates that landlords must pay for an extermination within a month if they fail to disclose the previous years infestations.
Slight issues with the legislation aside this law is a step in the right direction. Landlords must now notify tenants of their bed bug history with every lease renewal, not just signing – that means if someone else in your building has an infestation you’ll know about it when you renew your lease. Since multi-dwelling units are an active, hard to treat location for bed bug infestations any knowledge can be a great help. Hopefully in the future we’ll see more jurisdictions begin passing laws like this as the sooner you find out about an infestation – whether in the apartment before you move in or currently ongoing in the apartment beside you – the easier it is to take action and protect yourself and your belongings.