What Landlords Need to Know About Local Law 69 - Updated

Throughout the world, springtime is recognized as the time of rebirth. Flowers bloom anew, trees sprout leaflets, and lawns turn from a sad shade of yellow to a lush and verdant green. Plants are not the only kingdom welcoming the spring. Animals do, as well. Unfortunately for landlords and tenants, this means pests, too.

One such pest is the bedbug. While one can be plagued by bedbugs any time of year, a team of researchers in Philadelphia found that they reproduce at greater numbers and tend to travel farther to find new apartments to colonize during warmer months.

A bedbug infestation is the last thing that anyone wants. On top of being difficult to successfully eradicate, bedbugs are also notorious for their ability to spread from apartment to apartment. This is why it is imperative that landlords work with tenants to eliminate the problem as quickly as possible. Local Law 69 of 2017, which went into effect in November of 2017, encourages landlords to take proactive steps to ensure that infestations are handled as quickly as possible to stem the spread of these devious pests.

Local Law 69 stipulates that all owners are now required to create a report containing the bedbug infestation history from tenants or unit owners, including whether eradication measures were used. “In addition, owners will be required to report bedbug infestation information for each dwelling unit to HPD on an electronic form, and to then post the form in a prominent building location or provide a copy of the form to each tenant with the tenant’s vacancy and renewal leases.” You will need to upload the information that you collect from November 2018 through November 2019 to HPDONLINE in December 2019. Unlike the most recent registration window, which lasted from December 17, 2018 through February 28, 2019, the period will only be from December 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. This process will have to be repeated each subsequent year.

You will need to report the following information:

  • The address of your building;
  • The number of units in your building;
  • The number of units, as reported or otherwise known, that had a bedbug infestation during the year;
  • The number of units in which eradication measures were taken during the year;
  • The number of units that had a bedbug infestation after eradication measures were taken.

Another important thing to remember with bedbugs is that tenants are often embarrassed and ashamed when they get them. To admit that they have bedbugs, some believe, is to admit, that one lives in unhygienic conditions. This can sometimes lead them to try to solve the problem on their own, which can have disastrous results because do-it-yourself products do not always work as intended. In the best-case scenario, the colony will not be fully eradicated, only weakened. In the worst-case scenario, the pests will flee into adjacent units.

To eliminate the stigma of bedbugs, try to let your tenants know that anyone can get them. They are extremely opportunistic parasites. They have been found in court rooms, police stations, five-star hotels, buses, and even airplanes. If one of your tenants happens to be unlucky enough to be in a place that has a bedbug infestation, they run the risk of taking one home with them. Post fliers, send emails, do whatever you can to let your tenants know that no one will think lesser of them if they get bedbugs. It happens. By hiding their problem, they only will make matters worse for themselves and their fellow tenants.W

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