Landlords now must do more to inform tenants about a building's bed bug history

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | April 26, 2017 - 9:59AM 



New Yorkers may have won a small battle in the fight against bed bugs—though that depends on whom you ask. Yesterday, the City Council approved a new law that puts more responsibilities on landlords to disclose their buildings' bed bug history.

State law currently already requires landlords to inform new tenants of prior bedbug infestation in apartments when they sign their leases (if you think your landlord lied on the disclosure form, read what you can do about it here). But now, thanks to the new bill, landlords will have to let tenants know how many apartments within the building have had infestations when they renew their leases, too, though they don't need to specify which ones are or have been infested.

"Bed bugs do not discriminate between new & current residents, they're simply out for new blood," wrote Danny Dromm, the Queens City Council member who sponsored the bill.

Landlords will also have to file reports about their building's bed bug history with the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation, and the agency will post the information on its website. They're also now required to either post these reports in their buildings or hand them out to tenants.

Predictably, building owners are none too pleased with the new guidelines, and told the New York Post as much.

“This bill will needlessly alarm tenants that would otherwise not have to be concerned or be worried about an infestation in their building,” Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents landlords, told the Post. “This bill is just more regulation overkill," he said.

But Dromm told the paper he introduced the bill after numerous complaints. “What we were finding out was that a number of the people were [on] renewal leases,” he said. “So what we wanted to do was to fix it so that those who have renewal leases could also find out whether there were bedbugs in their building.”

Yesterday afternoon, Dromm tweeted his reaction: "Delighted that the @nyccouncil just passed my bill that'll provide NYers w the info they need to prevent the spread of bedbug infestations."


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