Property owners must maintain their property free from pests, including roaches, mice and bedbugs. In general, this means that the landlord must provide extermination services and keep a property free from excessive garbage (providing appropriate garbage cans and storing garbage in a pest-resistant manner).
Integrated Pest Management is the safest and most effective way to manage pests. It includes learning about pests and frequently checking for and eliminating conditions that can cause or sustain them. It involves the use of non-chemical methods first and then, if necessary, the use of pesticides. For more information, visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) website.
Left untreated, bedbugs can spread quickly in multi-dwelling housing. Both the housing and health codes require that property owners address infestations promptly. The surest strategies to keep bedbugs from spreading are prevention, early detection and rapid treatment. As a landlord, the first action you should take is to conduct an inspection of the reported condition. Knowing what to look for is key!
Below are three helpful resources for tenants, property owners/agents and homeowners wanting to know more about how bedbugs thrive, how to recognize and inspect for their presence, steps to take to prevent them from infesting a home, how to safely rid an area of bedbugs if they do occur, and how to select and work with a pest management professional.
HPD provides a special service for the inspection of bedbugs: HPD’s Canine Unit. The beagles are available to assist a team of Code Enforcement Inspectors who have been trained to work with them. The Canine Unit will respond to bedbug complaints where the 311 operator has confirmed that the tenant would like to have the inspection performed by a dog; although not every such complaint can be inspected by the Canine Unit. The dogs were trained at an accredited facility to alert by sitting when they detect live bedbugs or viable eggs. The findings are confirmed by visual inspection before a violation is issued.
If the HPD inspector finds bedbugs, the property owner is issued an HPD Notice of Violation (NOV) (see Sample A) ordering that the condition be addressed.
When a NOV is issued by HPD, the property owner also receives a DOHMH Order of the Commissioner (see Sample B). The Commissioner’s order provides property owners more detail on the requirements for addressing bedbugs, including:
Certification of HPD's NOV is the only required notification back to the City that the condition has been corrected as instructed. There is no response directly to the DOHMH. The HPD NOV Certification of Correction requires a sworn statement that the above corrective actions have been taken, in compliance with the DOHMH Commissioner’s Order.
For information about completing your certification documents for HPD, you can contact your Borough Service Center or certify online using eCertification.
There are two reporting requirements related to bedbugs in New York City.
First, New York State law requires property owners to disclose bedbug infestation history dating back one year to new tenants through the Bedbug Disclosure Form. For more information, visit the NYS Homes and Community Renewal website.
Second, effective November 6, 2017, pursuant to Local Law 69 of 2017, all multiple dwelling property owners must attempt to obtain the bedbug infestation history from the tenant or unit owner, including whether eradication measures were employed for a bedbug infestation. During December 2018 and before January 1, 2019, (for the previous year, from November 2017 through November 2018) and each year thereafter, owners will be required to report information for each dwelling unit to HPD.
An owner of a multiple dwelling will be required to report electronically to HPD each December for their property:
When submitting electronically, the owner will certify that either:
A link to the reporting application for property owners will be provided through HPDONLINE in December 2018. Pursuant to the law, HPD will also make the submitted information publicly available on its website.
Once this filing with HPD is completed by January 1, 2019, an owner of a multiple dwelling shall provide each tenant, upon commencement of a new lease and with ease renewal lease, or post in a prominent location within such multiple dwelling, both of the following documents:
HPD may issue violations for failing to file timely, failing to properly post the notice, or failing to provide documents as required to tenants.