There may be nothing more unsettling for New York City tenants than discovering a bed bug infestation in your apartment. Unfortunately, getting bed bugs can almost be a rite of passage in this city, considering how often it happens to people.
Despite the commonness of bed bug infestations, the fact is that they are disturbing and can cause health problems. If you discover an infestation in your apartment, you should take the following steps:
- Report an infestation to the landlord immediately
- File a complaint with the city if there is no response from the landlord
- Wash and thoroughly dry on high heat any clothing or furniture containing bed bugs
- Discard infested items that cannot be washed by sealing them in plastic and labeling them as containing bed bugs
- Clear away clutter in your apartment to reduce hiding spaces
- Thoroughly vacuum your home
- Consider moving furniture and other items that do not have bed bugs into storage
What your landlord should do
After you have taken the appropriate steps to notify your landlord about the bed bugs, your landlord has 30 days to correct the issue. The landlord must also:
- Notify other tenants of the infestation
- Contact and hire trained, license exterminators to treat infested units
- Conduct inspections of all or adjacent units
- Let tenants know when they need to enter their unit
- Inform tenants about the use of pesticides
- Disclose the infestation to any new tenants in the next year
Having bed bugs can be quite upsetting. However, it is important to understand that they typically do not pose serious health risks to people. And while they can be difficult to treat, there are effective ways to prevent and get rid of them.
That said, if you discover an infestation, it is crucial to act fast. Take these steps to protect yourself and make sure your landlord takes appropriate action. Tenants have rights, including the right to live in an environment free of bed bugs.
If a landlord fails to disclose bed bug history or properly address an infestation, you may need to take more aggressive action and consult an attorney to seek a satisfactory resolution and compensation for damages resulting from negligence.