by Rebecca Henely
September 2, 2010
Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite — especially new residents.
Gov. David Paterson signed legislation Monday requiring all owners or landlords of a property to give potential tenants written advance notice if the dwelling they are renting has had bedbugs in the past year.
The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).
“Bedbugs have become an insidious nuisance for renters throughout the state because landlords oftentimes do not disclose infestations,” Peralta said. “Tenants have the right to know if the apartment or house they are renting was previously occupied by bedbugs.”
Complaints about bedbugs have gone up in recent years across the country, and the bugs are resistant to many pesticides, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Ridding an infested apartment of bed bugs is a daunting and very expensive task. Because bedbugs can live up to one year without feeding, an apartment seemingly clear could actually remain infested with tenants unaware until long after they move in,” a statement from Peralta’s office said.
Rosenthal’s office said nearly 11,000 complaints about bedbugs were made to the city’s 311 line in 2009, compared to 537 in 2004. Confirmed infestations have also gone up to 4,084 in 2009 from 82 in 2004.
“By passing legislation allowing prospective tenants to find out if their individual apartment or apartment building has had any bedbugs in the past year, we are giving New Yorkers the opportunity to make informed choices and fight back against the fear and disgust that bedbugs engender,” she said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.