Apartment dwellers who fall prey to bed bugs feel like they’re caught between a rock and a hard place. Report bed bugs to the authorities and risk being blacklisted by other apartment owners. Don’t report the nasty buggers and risk being eaten alive!
Most cities have local laws that require landlords to ensure that residential property is habitable, meaning in good repair and free of pests, among other things. Under most local health and/or building codes, landlords must provide a home that is free of pests or exterminate them if they appear. This includes bed bugs, rates, mice, roaches and ants. In New York City, tenants can call 311 to report a bed bug infestation. (For more information on tenant rights in several states and cities, including NYC, click the post title.)
So if you’re being eaten alive every time you go to bed and your landlord isn’t doing anything about it, why wouldn’t you call 311 immediately or call and raise Cain with your local public health agency or building inspector? Fear of being blacklisted, say tenants. Some landlords won’t rent to tenants who have filed a complaint, court action or violation against a former landlord. Deciding these tenants are too difficult to deal with or present a future legal risk, some landlords won’t accept these “rabble rousers” as tenants. Unfair? Yes. Unethical? Yes. Illegal? Very probably. You’ll need to check with your local authorities to find out.
The thing is, once they settle in, bed bugs won’t go away by themselves. This isn’t something you can treat with a can of Raid or live with for very long. Unlike some bugs that proliferate in apartments, bed bugs don’t scurry out of sight when you turn out the lights. When you hit the sack, they creep out of tiny crevices near or in your bed and hold an all-night party — with you as the main course! You’ll wake up covered in red itchy welts from their blood-sucking bites. And this will go on every night until your landlord brings in a professional to get rid of the little vampires.
This isn’t a time to grin and bear it. If you have bed bugs, notify your landlord and the authorities. Make sure your landlord acts immediately. The problem will only spread throughout your building the longer it goes untreated. Tell your landlord to call Stern Environmental Group. We are the bed bug experts. For more information on bed bugs, visit our website. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.