Complete Annual Bedbug Reporting Requirement with HPD by Dec. 31
As a result of Local Law 69 of 2017, apartment building owners are required to file bedbug infestation and treatment reports with HPD annually. When the law became effective, the initial due date for the filing was Jan. 31, 2019. Now, owners are required to file a Bedbug Annual Report between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 for subsequent years beginning in December 2019. You can find the online application through HPD’s website at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/services-and-information/bedbugs.page.
According to the Local Law, all multiple dwelling property owners must attempt to obtain the bedbug infestation history from the tenant or unit owner, including whether eradication measures were employed for a bedbug infestation. The law also requires owners to file the bedbug history for each of their properties electronically with HPD. And in addition to filing this electronic form with HPD, owners and managers will be required to post the form at a prominent place in the building or provide the form with each new or renewal lease. An HPD-approved form on preventing, detecting, and removing bedbugs must also be included with either the posting or lease distribution.
General Bedbug Requirements
Owners must maintain their property free from pests, including roaches, mice, and bedbugs. In general, this means that the landlord must provide extermination services and keep a building free from excessive garbage by providing appropriate garbage cans and storing garbage in a pest-resistant manner.
HPD and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) advocate for Integrated Pest Management as the safest and most effective way to manage pests. It includes learning about pests and frequently checking for and eliminating conditions that can cause or sustain them. It involves the use of non-chemical methods first and then, if necessary, the use of pesticides. Left untreated, bedbugs can spread quickly in an apartment building. Both the housing and health codes require that owners address infestations promptly. The surest strategies to keep bedbugs from spreading are prevention, early detection, and rapid treatment.
Complaints and Violations
If tenants file a bedbug complaint, HPD offers a canine unit for the inspection of bedbugs. The beagles are available to assist a team of Code Enforcement Inspectors who have been trained to work with them. The Canine Unit will respond to bedbug complaints where the 311 operator has confirmed that the tenant would like to have the inspection performed by a dog, although not every such complaint can be inspected by the Canine Unit. The dogs were trained at an accredited facility to alert inspectors by sitting when they detect live bedbugs or viable eggs. The findings are confirmed by visual inspection before a violation is issued.
If the HPD inspector finds bedbugs, the owner is issued an HPD Notice of Violation (NOV) ordering that the condition be addressed. When a NOV is issued by HPD, the owner also receives a DOHMH Order of the Commissioner. The Commissioner’s Order gives owners more details on the requirements for addressing bedbugs, including:
Inspect the apartment(s) cited for bedbugs. If you find a bedbug infestation in the apartment(s), inspect all units adjacent to, above, and below the infested units, as well as all common areas, and retain the services of a pest management professional certified and registered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to take all measures necessary to remove bedbug infestation where found.
Keep a record of all actions taken in compliance with the Order. Certification of HPD’s NOV is the only required notification back to the city that the condition has been corrected as instructed. There’s no response directly to the DOHMH. The HPD NOV Certification of Correction requires a sworn statement that the above corrective actions have been taken, in compliance with the DOHMH Commissioner’s Order.
Annual HPD Bedbug Filing Requirements
The online application allows only validly registered property owners and managing agents of multiple dwellings to disclose bedbug infestation history. A building’s property registration must be current. Owners are required to report the following information:
- The number of dwelling units;
- The number of dwelling units, as reported or otherwise known to the owner, that had a bedbug infestation during the previous year;
- The number of dwelling units, as reported or otherwise known to the owner, in which eradication measures were employed during the previous year for a bedbug infestation; and
- The number of dwelling units reported in the previous bullet point that had a bedbug infestation after such eradication measures were employed in such units.
When submitting, owners certify that either:
- A copy of the most recent electronic form will be distributed to each tenant of the building upon each lease renewal or the commencement of a new lease issued; or
- A copy of the form will be posted in a prominent location within the building within 60 days of the filing and that the owner will maintain a record that a copy of the form was prominently posted within 60 days of the filing of the information with HPD.
Once this filing with HPD is completed, in addition to taking the action that the owner certifies to (either providing the filing to each tenant, upon commencement of a new lease and with each renewal lease, or posting in a prominent location within the building), the owner must either distribute or post a notice that provides information about the prevention, detection, and removal of bedbugs. The notice can be found at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/vector/vector-faq1.pdf.
It’s important to note that in addition to the city-level bedbug filing requirements, state law requires owners to disclose bedbug infestation history dating back one year to new tenants through the bedbug disclosure form. This form can be found at http://www.nyshcr.org/forms/rent/dbbn.pdf.