As we noted previously, the bill originally called on New York City landlords to provide disclosure to prospective tenants of a building’s bed bug history going back five years, which may unnecessarily discourage prospective tenants, and as such may not be fair to responsive landlords who may have long since cleared up any active infestations.
The bill, now 10356b, and (as of yesterday) now under review by the Senate’s Codes Committee, has been amended to read as follows:
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the administrative code of the city of
New York, in relation to requiring owners or landlords of a property
within the city of New York to disclose bedbug infestation history of
such property before it is leased
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to offer prospective tenants information on prior bedbug infestations within the property in question.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The bill will amend, the administrative code of the city of New York to add new section 27-2018.1, Notice of Infestation History:
a. For housing accommodations subject to this code, an owner shall furnish to each tenant signing a vacancy, lease, a notice in a form promulgated or approved by the state division of housing and community renewal that sets forth the property’s bedbug infestation history for the previous year regarding the premises rented by the tenant and the building in which the premises are located.
b. Upon written complaint, in a form promulgated or approved by the division of housing and community renewal, by the tenant that he or she was not furnished with a copy of the notice required pursuant to subdivision a of this section, the division of housing and community renewal shall order the owner to furnish the. notice.
JUSTIFICATION: Prospective tenants have a right to access relevant
documentation regarding the history of bedbugs within their new living spaces. This information is essential to making an informed decision and should not be withheld from consumers. Should a prospective landlord refuse to supply this information, they should be compelled to provide it.
This not only changes the period for which disclosure must be made from five years to one year, but it also clearly specifies that disclosures must be made both in regard to the individual unit and the building as a whole.
Compare this with the original text here which only mentioned the “property,” leaving it unclear whether landlords had to disclose infestations in the entire building, or not.
Brick Underground also blogged about the bill yesterday, noting that it passed unanimously out of the Housing Committee.
Brick Underground also notes that the revised bill removes a requirement that the landlord disclose which units in the building had bed bugs in the past, due to privacy concerns, and cites New York City pest control firm Standard Pest’s Gil Bloom, who recommends that the disclosure should include information on if, when and how the problem was corrected.