New York Gov. David Paterson has signed into law the Bedbug Disclosure Act requiring New York landlords to disclose a one-year history of infestation to potential tenants. Could other cities follow?
The EPA has stated that bed bug outbreaks have tripled since 2005. Terminix released Tuesday, Aug 24, a list of the 15 most bedbug-infested cities, based on an analysis of call volume reporting bedbug infestations and of confirmed bedbug cases reported by sales professionals in 350 of the company’s service centers with Chicago ranking 5th, which is not surprising as a major metropolitan area. Not all cases are reported, and some are even infested without their knowledge so there may be some discrepancy in the numbers.
A similar disclosure could be very beneficial for prospective tenants, as residents who have undergone an infestation know of the frustration and damage it creates.
However, the disclosure, if ever brought up would also need to indicate potential source of infestation, which could be largely unreliable without documentation or prior inspections. Infestation is hard to detect, so without a previous inspection prior to move-in, how can we determine root cause? Required inspections could potentially increases costs to landlord and tenant rates as well.
Additionally, in New York, a bill was introduced in the Assembly that would create a state tax credit for bedbug sufferers who have had to replace furniture, bedding and other items because of bedbug damage.
I did not find any information of allowances for landlords if roles were reversed or for residents when damage caused by neighbors in an HOA – perhaps someone from New York can expand… With so many situational landlords, and the right to cure currently being argued, an inclusion of the disclosure without real assessment could potentially put more strain on the courts as tenants and landlords fight out cause and damage. Most associations usually have inspections and extermination services at least once a year, so this may not financially encumber HOAs unless in instances of an outbreak.
There are some local registers of infestation, although I am not sure on their accuracy as they rely on visitors to post information.
Sherwin L. Sucaldito, REALTOR®
Member of The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing
Member of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agency Council, ABR
Certified Residential Property Manager, CRPM