If bed bugs are found, treatment must be completed to the unit and all of the surrounding units as well. PHAs may offer special services to tenants such as inspecting furniture, non-chemical treatment of furniture prior to moving into a unit, the use of bed bug detection devices or mattress encasements, but tenants are not required to use the services. All special services must be incurred at the expense of the PHA.
Public Housing Agencies cannot deny residency to tenants who have had previous bed bug experiences. Preferential treatment may not be provided to tenants based upon their response to the question regarding exposure to bed bugs. Any person who lives in a HUD owned Public Housing Unit cannot be charged for bed bug eradication services. All costs for bed bug eradication must be covered by the PHA.
Recognizing that tenants have some responsibility in controlling bed bugs, tenants must also take an active role in avoiding and eliminating the pests.
In the regulation, “tenants are strongly encouraged to immediately report the suspicion of possible bed bugs in a housing unit or other areas of the property.” This should be a REQUIREMENT, not an encouragement! Bed bugs spread very quickly. It is imperative that pest control professionals be called at the first sign of a bed bug infestation.
Tenants will not be reimbursed for bed bug infested items so it is important for them to cooperate and aid in the eradication process. When bed bugs are concerned, tenants, PHAs and pest control professionals must all work together for full eradication.
Public Housing Agencies and Pest Control Professionals are encouraged to keep abreast of the new HUD guidelines by reading Notice: PIH-2012-17 provided by HUD.