Bed bug cases in New York have become a serious issue. There are many inquires on this matter, in regard to legalities. While we are not equipped to provide legal advice, we hope this discussion can help you to locate references to help you in your bedbug battle. These sources and references cover a range of topics including residential rentals, actions that should be taken by tenants and address popular questions such as: Who should take care of the bed bug infestation? What are the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, New York Real Property Law and the New York City Health Code.
- There are a series of concerns and questions regarding dwellings with a landlord/tenant relationship, including:
- What are the practical remedies available to tenants when landlords refuse to help?
- What if the infestation continues unabated for months and even years?
- What about a tenant who wants to move out and break their lease?
- Can I sue for bedbug damages?
How can I best compel my landlord to take action against the perceived source of the infestation within the building? What if that source is thought to be the apartment of an uncooperative tenant?
The policy perspective holds an interesting point of view, noting the apparent inadequacy of law provisions towards and management of bed bug infestations. When it comes to bed bugs, there are various factors that bring about complications. Bed bugs easily spread between apartments, making it vital to inspect and identify other apartments that may be infested in order to eradicate the infestation. Detecting bed bug infestations is difficult in cases of low-level infestation, so city housing inspectors may not even see the bed bugs, and therefore there would be no violation cited. Because eradicating bed bugs is so difficult, even skilled bed bug management practices may fail to fully exterminate the bugs. This is due to the fact that the tools and skills currently available are inadequate, because the preparation requirements placed on tenants may be difficult to comply with, and because new infestations may develop, so that even the landlord’s good faith efforts may still fail. The conventional wisdom is that bed bug infestations are extremely hard to get rid of, that they are regarded strictly as a job for professionals. Tenants are discouraged from trying to treat a case themselves, and it is even illegal for landlords who are not licensed pest control professional exterminators to apply certain bed bug treatments. Further, professional bed bug eradication is prohibitively expensive.