Enforcement Protocol for Bed Bug Complaints in NYC

Lets face it, bed bugs are here to stay (hopefully not for too long). With the increasing reports of this disgusting creature being sighted in establishments all across the city as well as the nation, the need to know what you can expect from the city is naturally increasing as well.

Every month, thousands of people are reporting bed bugs and according to bedbugregistry.com this year New York already has 4490 reports of bed bugs. We must remain objective however, because these reports are unconfirmed.

On the flip side, think about the thousands of people who don’t know about bedbugregistry.com and think about the thousands of people who either don’t know or care that they have bed bugs.

Either way, every person needs information on what to do if bed bugs are sighted and what’s expected of the landlord once you file a report. One common misconception about reporting bed bugs, is that most people go directly to their landlord or property manager who could string you around.

Tips for New Yorkers when Reporting Bed Bugs:

  • In addition to contacting your property owner landlord or management company, also contact 311 and report the bed bug sighting to them. Doing this will assure that HPD (Housing Preservation & Development) will attempt to contact the owner or representative about the complaint.

  • Push for a housing inspector from the HPD to come and inspect the premises.

  • When the inspector comes, be home to make sure he performs a thorough investigation and so that you can direct him to where you have seen the bugs previously.

  • Begin preparing your garments, accessories, upholstery, bedding and anything else that could be infested for laundering and steam cleaning to eliminate bed bugs from them so extermination is not in vain.

  • Educate yourselves to the tendencies of bed bugs and what you need to do to prevent any further infestations

  • Follow up with the inspection and make sure the landlord/property owner is taking care of what’s required of him.

  • Check NYC.gov‘s website dedicated to what’s required of landlords and tips for tenants and all New Yorkers alike.

New York’s Department of Health is realizing that bed bugs are an epidemic and if we don’t get rid of bed bugs they will just continue to spread and get worse. Finally they are beginning to hold landlords/property owners accountable for their actions by increasing their expectations of them regarding bed bugs. According to NYC.gov:

Beginning in 2011, to better support the prevention and control of bed bugs, New York City will take a stronger approach to enforcement by expanding what it requires of property owners who persistently fail to comply with housing and health codes. Where bed bugs persist, or occur in multiple apartments in the same building, the DOHMH will issue an Order of the Commissioner requiring that property owners take several additional steps. For more information on the required steps, go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/bedbugs/html/info/enforcement.shtml. Owners that fail to comply with the DOHMH Order will be issued a Notice of Violation and will have to appear at a hearing before the City’s Environmental Control Board where fines may be levied.

Knowledge is power! Landlords and property owners count on the fact that many tenants remain uneducated. That is why many of them will run you around the proverbial bush rather than spend a dime of their money on eliminating your bed bug infestation. New Yorkers, educate yourselves and stop letting your landlords, property owners and management companies crawl all over you; it’s a good thing they don’t reproduce as quickly as bed bugs!

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