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Bedbug Laws for New York City Rentals

Under New York City’s housing code, landlords are explicitly required to eradicate bedbugs in their rental units.

Renters across the state of New York can generally expect their landlords to be responsible for eradicating bedbugs in their rental—but it’s not actually spelled out in the law. In New York City, however, that expectation is more clear-cut. According to the city’s housing and maintenance code, bedbugs are among the pests landlords are legally required to eradicate. Landlords are also supposed to inform new renters about any history of bedbugs in their building and keep the city up to date on any new infestations.

NYC landlords are responsible for exterminating bedbugs

Tenants in New York City have the right to a bedbug-free apartment. This is spelled out in the city’s housing and maintenance code, which specifically names bedbugs as one of the “pests” a landlord is legally required to eradicate in a rental unit.1

More generally, tenants anywhere in New York are protected by the state’s warranty of habitability, which requires landlords to keep their units in livable condition. A bedbug infestation could be considered a breach of the warranty, and state law gives tenants several ways to deal with these sorts of violations.

Landlords have 30 days to deal with bedbug infestations

Bedbug infestations are considered a Class B violation by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which means that a landlord has 30 days to correct the issue once they have been notified. Landlords are expected to both a) eradicate the current infestation and b) ensure that the apartment doesn’t get reinfested.2 If a landlord refuses to take action, a tenant can file a complaint with HPD through their website or by calling 311. Tenants can also take their landlord to Housing Court.

Landlords must inform tenants about the building's bedbug history

New York City landlords must provide each new tenant with a one-year history of any bedbug infestations in the building.3 (The disclosure form should look something like this.) If a landlord fails to do so, tenants can fill out the “DBB-N Tenant’s Complaint of Owner’s Failure to Disclose Bed Bug Infestation History/Notice and Order.” To request a copy of the form be sent to their address, NYC tenants can either call 1-866-275-3427 or call or visit one of the borough offices.

Landlords are required to file a yearly bedbug report with the city

Landlords across New York City are expected to file an annual bed bug report each December. (If they don’t, HPD can issue a violation.) Once the report has been filed, the landlord is required to send their filing receipt to each of their tenants or post the report in a prominent place in the building.4

[1] New York City's Housing and Maintenance Code, Subchapter 2, Article 4 §27–2017

[2] “Information for Homeowners and Tenants,” NYC Health

[3] New York City Administrative Code § 27-2018.1

[4] Local Law 69 of 2017

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