No one likes to think about creepy-crawlies—especially ones that might land up in your bed! But if you’re a NYC landlord, it’s time to think bugs. February 28th, 2019 is the final day for filing your annual bedbug report.
Before you start bugging out from all this bedbug talk, let’s take a look at what NYC’s compliance code has to say about bedbugs and your responsibilities as a property owner.
What is Local Law 69?
According to Local Law 69 of 2017, building owners must keep their properties free of all pests, including bedbugs. They are responsible to learn how to best treat a bedbug infestation, frequently check for the presence of pests, and to eliminate any conditions that can trigger an infestation.
Property owners of multiple-dwelling buildings must also file an annual bedbug report with the HPD.
What do I need to include in my bedbug filing report?
Before you get started on filing your report, you’ll need to try to obtain the bedbug infestation history of your unit from the current tenant or unit owner. This history must include all incidences of infestation as well as reports on whether steps were taken to get rid of those nasty bedbugs. Once you have this information in hand, you’ll have to complete your annual bedbug filing. You’ll generally have more than two months in which to do this; this year, the window for submitting your filing runs from December 17, 2018 to February 28, 2019. You can complete your bedbug filing here.
Please note that your report will be posted in a public forum on the HPD website. Also, only validly registered property owners and managing agents of multiple dwellings can share bedbug infestation history. If your building is not registered, you can take care of that step here.
Property owners must include the following information in their bedbug filing report:
- The total number of dwelling units in the property.
- The number of dwelling units in the property that have had a bedbug infestation during the previous year.
- The number of dwelling units that have had a bedbug infestation in the previous year and have taken measures to eliminate the infestation.
- The number of dwelling units reported to have taken measures towards eliminating a bedbug infestation that still had an infestation after these measures were taken.
Aside from that information, you’ll also need to certify that you will fulfill ONE of the following requirements:
- Distribute a copy of the electronic form of your filing to each tenant upon every lease renewal or when a new lease is issued.
Post a copy of the form in a highly prominent location in your building within 60 days of the filing while retaining a copy of the form for your own records.
Once you’ve chosen your means for sharing the form with your tenants, you will also need to distribute or post this brochure which is full of information on how to prevent, detect, and eradicate bedbugs. In addition, when meeting with prospective new tenants, you’ll have to share the bedbug infestation history of your building with them through the official Bedbug Disclosure Form which you can download here.
What if I find bedbugs in one of my buildings?
No one wants to share their apartment with any kind of pest, but a bedbug is an especially unpleasant house-guest. When left untreated, a small number of bedbugs can multiply rapidly until there is a full-blown infestation. As a landlord, you need to be extra vigilant to make sure no bedbugs take up residence in any of your properties. Learn all you can about bedbug prevention and what to do in case of a sighting so you don’t wind up with a huge and expensive problem on your hands.
Your tenants have the right to file a bedbug complaint with the HPD by calling 311. The 311 operator will ask the tenant if they’d like to have an inspection performed by an HPD inspector or the HPD’s Canine Unit, which is comprised of beagles that have been trained to sit when they detect live bedbugs or viable eggs. If a visual inspection confirms the presence of bedbugs or eggs, a violation will be issued.
If you receive a Notice of Violation (NOV), you’ll have to address the issue as quickly as possible. Along with the NOV, you’ll receive a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Order of the Commissioner.
The Order will provide you with clear instructions for how to proceed:
- Inspect the unit cited for bedbugs.
- If a bedbug infestation is found in this unit, inspect all adjacent units, units directly above and below this unit, as well as all common areas in the building.
- In case of an infestation, hire a pest management professional who is certified and registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to completely eradicate the infestation.
Be sure to keep a record of all the actions you’ve taken in order to comply with the Order.
To remove the violation and put your property back in the clear, you’ll have to present the City with an HPD NOV Certificate of Corrections. You can get your Certificate by making a sworn statement testifying that you’ve followed the corrective actions issued in the Order.
Still feeling buggy about bedbugs? You can check out the HPD’s bedbug portal here for more information on getting rid of those pesky critters. And if you have questions about compliance with Local Law 69 or any other NYC compliance issue, give Jack Jaffa a call at 718-855-6110. We’re always here to help you make sense of the NYC compliance code.