Bed Bug Disclosure

The issues around disclosing a bed bug problem are many and complicated. Ecologic Entomologybegan talking about disclosure more than 10 years ago and it’s become an important topic in our training seminars. New York recently enacted a bed bug disclosure policy that requires landlords to tell prospective tenants if bed bugs have been a problem within the past year. The originally proposed act would’ve required a five-year look-back window. Other cities and states are sure to follow.

Prospective tenants and hotel guests have an inherent and statutory right to stay in a pest-free environment. When the pests are biting parasites, and can easily be relocated from one place to another, there are emotional, legal, and control implications. The legal community is busy with an array of issues including:

  • What responsibility does a property owner, property manager, or hotel manager have to disclose the presence of bed bugs?
  • If a new tenant or hotel guest should be bitten at the property, what is the monetary value of such injury and emotional distress?
  • In cases where hotel guests unknowingly relocate bed bugs from the hotel room back to their home, is the hotel responsible for treatment costs?
  • Given the rapid distribution and rate of re-infestations (especially in “front line” properties like hotels, multi-family housing, shelters, etc.,) who would declare apartments or rooms “bed bug free?”

These are just a few of the complicated questions being discussed in the legal and housing communities. Stay tuned.