Local Law 69: File Annual Bedbug Report 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. Owners must file between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 for the previous year from November 2019 through November 2020.
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. Electronic filing is still required even when there is no reported bedbug activity in a dwelling unit. The online portal for the annual bedbug filing can be found at https://hpdcrmportal.dynamics365portals.us/. Furthermore, pursuant to the law, HPD will make the submitted information publicly available online.
A building’s property registration must be current. And the online bedbug filing application will only allow validly registered property owners and managing agents of multiple dwellings to disclose bedbug infestation history.
Owners are required to file an aggregate report of the bedbug infestation history that includes infestation history for all units, not an infestation history for an individual dwelling unit. Owners are required to report the following information:
- Total dwelling unit count. The total number of units in the multiple dwelling (whether or not the unit is occupied).
- Infested dwelling unit count. The number of units, as reported by a tenant or otherwise known to the property owner, to have had a bedbug infestation for the reporting period and annually for each subsequent report.
- Eradicated dwelling unit count. The number of units where eradication measures were employed for the reporting period.
- Re-infested dwelling unit count. The number of units that reported having a bedbug infestation after eradication methods were employed for the reporting period and annually for each subsequent report.
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 DOHMH’s Preventing and Getting Rid of Bedbugs Safely guide (www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/vector/bed-bug-guide.pdf) or post DOHMH’s Bedbug Information Notice. This notice provides information about the prevention, detection, and removal of bedbug infestation. The form must be posted within 60 days of the filing of the Bedbug Annual Report.
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.
Top 10 Bedbug Tips from the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs
1. Make sure you really have bedbugs, not fleas, ticks, or some other insect. You can compare your insect to DOHMH’s “Is it a Bedbug, Cockroach or Carpet Beetle?” infographic at www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/bedbugs/is-it-a-bedbug.pdf.
2. Don’t panic! Eliminating bedbugs is difficult, but it’s not impossible. Most items can be treated and saved. Throwing stuff out is expensive, may spread the bedbugs, and could cause more stress.
3. Think through treatment options–don’t immediately reach for the spray can. Try other things first. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques may reduce the number of bedbugs and limit your contact with pesticides. If pesticides are needed, always follow label directions or hire a professional.
4. Reduce the number of hiding places–clean up the clutter. A cluttered area provides more places for bedbugs to hide and makes locating and treating for them harder. If bedbugs are in mattresses, using special bedbug covers (encasements) on a mattress and box springs makes it harder for bedbugs to feed.
5. Regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads, and any clothing that touches the floor. This reduces the number of bedbugs. Bedbugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers, so clean them when you do the laundry.
6. Don’t rely on do-it-yourself freezing as a reliable method for bedbug control. While freezing can kill bedbugs, temperatures must remain very low for a long time. Home freezers are usually not cold enough to kill bedbugs. Putting things outside in freezing temperatures can kill bedbugs, but it can take several days when the temperature is 0°F and almost a week when the temperature is 20°F.
7. Kill bedbugs with heat, but be very careful. Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job. Special equipment and very high temperatures are necessary for successful heat treatment. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bedbugs in luggage or small items, if the contents become hot enough. Bedbugs die when their body temperatures reach 45°C (113°F). To kill bedbugs with heat, the room or container must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding.
8. Don't pass your bedbugs on to others. Bedbugs are good hitchhikers. If you throw out a mattress or furniture that has bedbugs in it, you should slash or in some way destroy it so that no one else takes it and gets bedbugs.
9. Reduce the number of bedbugs to reduce bites. Thorough vacuuming can get rid of some bedbugs. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, under beds, around bed legs, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Change the bag after each use so the bedbugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.
10. Turn to the professionals, if needed. Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of bedbugs. If you hire an expert, be sure it’s a company with a good reputation and request that it use an IPM approach.
DOHMH recommends that owners hire pest control companies registered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to get rid of bedbugs. The pest control company should:
Inspect your home to confirm the presence of bedbugs.
Find and eliminate their hiding places.
Treat your home with special cleaning and/or pesticides if necessary.
Make return visits to make sure bedbugs are gone.
Be sure your pest control company hires licensed pest management professionals. Ask to see a copy of their license or check directly with DEC by calling (718) 482-4994 or visiting http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/209.html.