Being labeled as having the worst bed bug infestations in the United States has kicked a few of Chicago’s city officials into high gear to rid their city of the little vampires. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on January 30, 2013 that three Aldermen are heading the fight in the war against bed bugs in the city of Chicago. The Aldermen proposed a new ordinance to the City Council’s Health and Environmental Protection Committees in an effort to try to stop the blood-fest. Despite compelling testimony, the decision was made not to vote on the proposed legislation.
The Aldermen’s proposed legislation is quite similar to the legislation that has been created by New York City officials. NYC was named the most bed bug infested city in the United States in past years, but with educational campaigns, legislation, and expert pest control services, the city’s bed bug problems have continued to drop significantly throughout the past few years. NYC is now ranked in the #10 spot and will surely continue to drop in the years going forward.
The Alderman’s proposed legislation would:
• Declare bed bugs to be a “public nuisance”.
• Require landlords to hire professional exterminators instead of treating a complex on their own.
• Levy fines of up to $1,000 per day for landlords that do not comply with the regulations.
• Forbid landlords from renting out bed bug infested units.
• Landlords, hotels and businesses must hire exterminators within 10 days of being notified of or finding bed bugs at any establishment.
• Apartment, hotel, and motel rooms located above, below, and on either side must be treated for bed bugs.
• Bed bug infested hotel and motel rooms could not be rented until they are bed bug free.
• Tenants would be required to immediately notify landlords in writing about any bed bug infestation that is found or suspected.
• Mattresses that are infested with bed bugs must be wrapped in plastic prior to being tossed to the curb.
There are those who will argue that these are harsh changes. But if the city wants to gain the upper hand against bed bugs, they must take a very aggressive approach to fighting the bloodsuckers. Studies have shown that hiring a licensed pest control professional is the best way to combat bed bug infestations, which is clearly what the Alderman are try to see happen within the city.