Enforcement Protocols for Bed Bug Complaints

What Property Owners Should Know:

Left untreated, bed bugs can spread quickly in multi-dwelling housing. Both Housing and Health Codes require that property owners address infestations promptly. The surest strategies to keep bed bugs from spreading are prevention, early detection and rapid treatment. Here is how the City’s enforcement protocols work when it receives a bed bug complaint:

  1. An Inspection by the Department of Housing Preservation
    and Development

    • When a complaint is made to 311 about bed bugs in a residential building, a housing inspector from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) may conduct an inspection. The inspector examines places where bed bugs are commonly found, such as on and around mattresses, beds and head
      boards, as well as other potentially infested areas as directed
      by the tenant.
    • If the HPD inspector finds bed bugs, the property owner is issued an HPD Notice of Violation (see Sample A) ordering that the condition be addressed.
  2. A Commissioner’s Order from the Health Department

    • When a Notice of Violation is issued by HPD, the property owner also receives an Order of the Commissioner (see Sample B) from the Health Department.
    • The Commissioner’s order tells property owners what must be done to address the bed bug problem. For example, owners must hire a licensed pest management professional (exterminator) to treat the infestation. To prevent the spread of bed bugs, owners must also inspect and, where necessary, treat apartments next to and above and below infested units, and keep a record of all treatments conducted.
    • When these actions have been taken, property owners must notify HPD that the problem has been corrected through HPD’s violation certification process.
  3. Enforcement for Persistent Problems
    Beginning in 2011, to better support the prevention and control of bed bugs, New York City will take a stronger approach to enforcement by expanding what it requires of property owners who persistently fail to comply with Housing and Health Codes.

    • Where bed bugs persist, or occur in multiple apartments in the same building, the Health Department will issue an Order of the Commissioner (see Sample C) requiring that property owners take several additional steps.
    • For example, owners will be ordered to develop and distribute to tenants a building-wide Pest Management Plan (see Sample D). They will be required to notify tenants that bed bugs have been found in the building, and to provide guidance on how to prevent and control infestations. In addition, to prove that bed bug infestations have been treated, owners must have their licensed exterminator complete an Affidavit of Correction of Pest Infestation (see Sample E).
    • Owners that fail to provide these documents in a timely way to the Health Department will be issued a Notice of Violation and
      will have to appear at a hearing before the City’s Environmental Control Board where fines may be levied.

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