There are few things more disgusting or distressing than a bedbug infestation. That’s why New York specifically has laws to protect tenant’s rights to a bedbug-free environment. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Your Rights If Your Unit Has Bedbugs

If you have bedbugs, your landlord has 30 days to correct this problem. It’s considered a Class B violation, and they must both get rid of the infestation and keep your unit (and other affected units) from getting infected again.

It’s even possible to file a bedbug complaint online.

First, of course, you should contact your landlord. Ask them to seal any cracks or crevices leading into your home, and ask them to hire a professional pest control service. Elderly and disabled residents even have the right to ask their landlord to help them move furniture or clean clutter to address bedbug problems.

Meanwhile, you need to take your own mitigation measures—wash and dry both your clothing and your bedclothes on high heat for 30 minutes, or store them in a tightly-sealed plastic bag until you can wash them. Be aware that landlords aren’t required to reimburse you for dry cleaning or for having to replace a mattress or other piece of furniture.

If your landlord refuses to seal the cracks in your unit, you can move on to a complaint. 

What to Do If Your Landlord Blames You for Bedbugs

Sometimes landlords blame you, the tenant. And while you might have indeed accidentally brought in an infested suitcase by mistake, they’re still responsible for hiring a pest control service. You have a legal responsibility to report the bedbugs, not to try to sleuth out the source of the infestation.

If your landlord is unresponsive or won’t help because they’re dead set on blaming you, it may be time to work with a real estate lawyer. You can take your property owner to housing court to force them to stop neglecting the problem and to protect your rights if their posturing is a prelude to an eviction attempt. 

You yourself might be able to make a case for constructive eviction, leaving your apartment and terminating your lease, if your landlord refuses to fix such a serious issue. Either way, it’s unwise to start taking drastic legal steps unless you’re working closely with a real estate lawyer.

Get Help Today 

Are you struggling with bed bugs at your New York apartment?

Contact our office to get help today!

See also:

What Are the Classes of Housing Violations in NYC?

What to Do If Your New York Landlord Won’t Make Repairs

Tenant Eviction Defenses in New York City

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