Please be advised that Local Law 69 of 2017, which was enacted by the City Council in May, will officially go into effect November 6, 2017. This law now requires property owners to file bedbug infestation histories with the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and either post histories in their buildings or distribute them to tenants upon signing a new lease or lease renewal.
Property owners must prepare or obtain any bedbug infestation history for each unit, as well as whether extermination measures were employed for each bedbug infestation, between November 6, 2017 and November, 2018. During December 2018 and before January 1, 2019, owners will be required to report this information for each apartment for this period through HPD. Owners will then be required to update this information every year thereafter.
Building owners will be required to report electronically to HPD each December for their property:
1. The number of units
2. The number of units, as reported or otherwise known to the owner, that had a bedbug infestation during the previous year
3. The number of units, as reported or otherwise known to the owner, in which extermination measures were taken during the previous year for a bedbug infestation
4. The number of units reported in #3 that had a bedbug infestation after such extermination measures were taken in such units
When submitting the required information electronically, the owner must certify that either:
• A copy of the form will be given 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 with HPD.
HPD has not yet promulgated the reporting application but will release it in December 2018. In addition, pursuant to the law, HPD will also make the submitted information publicly available on its website.
Once this filing with HPD is completed by January 1, 2019, an owner of a multiple dwelling shall provide each tenant, upon commencement of a new lease and with ease renewal lease, or post in a prominent location within such multiple dwelling, both of the following documents:
1. A copy of the most recent electronic form submitted to HPD, and
2. A notice, in a form promulgated or approved by the City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (DOHMH), that provides information about the prevention, detection, and removal of bedbugs.
HPD may issue violations for failure to file with HPD timely, failure to properly post the notice, or failure to provide documents as required to tenants.
Although this new law is another burden for rental property owners, it is important to know that despite the odds against the tenant-friendly members of the City Council, the bill was amended after RSA’s advocacy to give owners the option of either posting bedbug histories in building common areas or providing them to all tenants individually when a new lease is signed or a lease is renewed. It is important to remember that the initial legislation from Council Member Daniel Dromm did not give owners this option.
We will remind owners in upcoming editions of the RSA Reporter, as well as through email blasts and at RSA membership meetings, of the importance of maintaining bedbug information for each unit beginning in November.
We will keep you apprised of any additional developments with HPD.