Law Aiming to Crack Down On Bed Bugs
I’m sure bed bugs can be very unsettling. Just writing about them makes me itchy and feel like something is crawling on me. I can’t imagine peacefully sleeping and then being awoken by the little creatures.
New York City is starting to crack down on bed bugs. Or hopes to anyways.
Councilman Rafael Espinal will introduce a bill that will require the New York City hotels to have exterminators inspect all of their rooms at least once every six months. Really though, one would think that hotels would do this anyway. Better to be safe than sorry.
Espinal’s efforts come after the bed bugs sightings in New York hotels have spiked up 44 percent from 2014 to 2015.
Espinal’s Bed Bugs Statement:
Everyone hates bedbugs — they prey on human flesh and cause huge expenses. Tenants, homeowners, and businesses pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to exterminate an infestation and replace damaged furniture and clothing. We as a city have to be proactive to inform New Yorkers where the problem is occurring, and protect New Yorkers or tourists who stay in hotels.
Of course if you’re new to New York it comes as great news that they’re “tidying” up before you visit. When you visit a new place or even plan to rent somewhere you expect that place to be bug free and clean.
One couple expected a place to be bug free when they visited New York for New Year’s earlier in 2016.
According to the reports, the incident happened at Manhattan’s Astor on the Park hotel.
Victim, Elgin Ozlen’s Statment:
We were expecting a vacation to remember the rest of our lives, and we will definitely remember it for the rest of our lives, but it won’t be a pleasant memory.
Espinal isn’t stopping at twice per year mandatory hotel inspections though. He plans to introduce another bill that would hopefully require New York City to publish their annual reports detailing the bed bug complaints as well as any violations in the city apartment buildings.
Bed Bugs Complaints
During the meetings earlier in the year, several residents actually reported that they received triple digit rent increases even though the apartments were infested with bedbugs. That wasn’t the only issue though, they also claimed that the apartments had faulty plumbing and heating systems.
The allegations definitely caught the right people’s attention because it spurred Concord to inspect the apartment buildings more. They also added staff so that the city could hopefully hear the tenant’s complaints faster which leads to a quicker resolve time.
Rental properties generally fall into two different categories, according to the city’s 16 year old multifamily housing inspection program. As of right now, the city inspects all of the apartment units into a base program once over a three year cycle. Concord then checks the properties exteriors at least once during that period.
Owners of the well maintained buildings are actually a part of the city’s self-certification program. The program states that they must inspect the exteriors and all the units every year during the three year cycle. They then have to submit an affidavit to the city.
Bed Bugs Examination
Once every three years the city also has to inspect the outside of the buildings that are in the self-certification program. They also have to look at a random sample of 7% of the units. According to the city reports, in 2013-2015 around 60% of the apartment complexes were in the self-certified program.
According to the community and economic development director, Victoria Walker, Concord and Richmond are the only two cities in Contra Costa County that have the apartment inspection programs.
There have been complaints in several of the buildings. Some of the reports include sightings of rodents, mold, leaking ceilings, pests, holey walls, as well as broken appliances.
If the building inspector finds violations, the owners have a deadline to fix the problem before the city returns to recheck the property.
Bed Bugs Inspections Required
Not only are they required to have more frequent inspections, the City Council raised the fees that the landlords will have to pay an estimated $175,000 in additional revenue annually. According to reports, those fund are going to allow the city to hire a second full time building inspector as well as an administrative clerk.
In the next year the city also plans to transfer the bedbug program from the Concord Police Department’s Code Enforcement Unit to the building division.
John DeSousa’s (Owns six Complex’s)Statement:
I think this program definitely works. I see the problem landlords we all know. They think twice when they hear that the city comes by and inspects. It’s a good program we just need more people to do an even better job. One person can’t do it all.
Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm