The Sun reports that the Livingston Street Housing Court in Brooklyn is rumored to have had bed bugs. This is months after a story circulated about a prior alleged infestation at the 111 Centre Street Housing Court in Manhattan.
Back in April, the city held bed bug information seminars at six NYC Housing Courts in one week, including Livingston Street and Centre Street, leading one to wonder if this was done because bed bugs had already been found in the courts.
The article links this alleged infestation on Livingston Street to the fact that New York City Housing Courts are filling up with bed bug cases brought by tenants and landlords:
Lawyers who visited Brooklyn housing court were abuzz recently, when bed bugs were reportedly spotted inside a courtroom on Livingston Street.
A spokeswoman for the courts insists the courts are insect-free, but the claim came as attorneys for landlords and tenants said bed bug disputes are filling the docket in New York City courts. At stake are thousands of dollars, including the cost of extermination, destroyed property, and rent for infested apartments. The cases are also setting new precedents in the emerging field of beg-bug law.
It stands to reason that the courts are as vulnerable to infestation as any other public place, and maybe more vulnerable, considering the number of people with bed bugs who are bringing cases to court.
The Sun article also goes into detail about some landmark bed bug cases, such as Ludlow Properties vs. Young, and Mathias v. Accor. And one lawyer describes a current case:
One attorney, Steven Wagner, said he is currently handling a case for a client on the Upper West Side who moved out of his new apartment within 60 days because of bed bugs. The client, who was renting a three-bedroom apartment on West 92nd Street for $7,000 a month, learned shortly after moving in that apartments on adjacent floors were infested with bed bugs. Mr. Wagner said his client’s landlord assured him that there would be no problem, but then the client’s son was bitten in the middle of the night.
“My client feels as if they had been defrauded into even signing this lease,” Mr. Wagner said. “Had they known there were bed bugs in the building, they never would have signed the lease.”
We hear about similar cases all the time afflicting those on moderate or middle incomes, and many times, these folks can’t afford a lawsuit or a move to a non-infested home.
Mr. Wagner understood the ramifications of bed bugs in the New York rental market:
He speculated that bed bug cases could have a ripple effect in the real estate market. “I wonder if this is a new way of getting rid of tenants who are regulated,” he said.