Co-Ops: Who Is Responsible for Bed Bug Treatment?

Bed bugs aren’t attracted to filth or food like other problem pests that bedevil New York City co-op residents. Unlike other pests that creep in from outdoors, bed bugs are adept hitchhikers, arriving in the suitcases, briefcases, purses and other personal belongings of co-op residents who have, often unwittingly, come in contact with bed bugs.

Because co-op residents bring in these pests which can then spread rapidly from unit to unit, deciding who is responsible – and who pays – can be a thorny issue. As lawyer Stephen Troup of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin recently pointed out in an article on, it pays to read the fine print about extermination responsibility before moving into a co-op.

New York bed bug laws clearly hold apartment landlords responsible for bed bug extermination in rental units. Because residents of NYC co-op apartments are actually lease-holders, they generally share the same pest-free living space protections afforded apartment dwellers; thus placing pest control responsibility with the co-op board. However, some co-op leases limit board responsibility to common areas, holding individuals responsible for extermination of their unit. Attorney Troup points out that a 2009 court ruling may circumvent such agreements in many cases bouncing extermination responsibility back to the board, although that won’t necessarily protect residents from financial responsibility.

Bottom line: If bed bugs move into your NYC co-op, call Stern’s bed bug experts for fast, effective extermination. No matter who pays, getting it done right will cost you less in the long run.