The Wall Street Journal reports that the new DBB-N: Notice to Tenant: Disclosure of Bed bug Infestation history forms are now being issued by landlords to prospective tenants.
With the fear of bedbugs sweeping across New York City, state housing officials have issued a new disclosure form requiring landlords to reveal whether or not the tiny blood-sucking insects had been reported in a rental apartment or elsewhere in the building.
Every landlord in New York City will have to include the completed form with a lease, including owners of units in two-family houses and those renting out their own condos or coops.
Some people fear that tenants will be scared off by the presence of bed bugs in a building in the past 12 months.
However, The Wall Street Journal notes,
Gordon Golub, who oversees rentals at Citi Habitats, says that during the last few months, the firm’s 650 brokers reported that about half of all renters looking for apartments mentioned bedbugs, a sharp increase.
He says a small number of renters would walk away from buildings with any bedbug history, increasing the length of time it takes to rent them. But he says with the vacancy rate in Manhattan at about 1%, it was unlikely to drive rents lower.
‘Landlords will correct the problem immediately if there is a problem,’ he says.
Good landlords do treat immediately and follow up to be as sure as they can be that bed bugs are gone.
However, landlords may take steps which make it look like they cleared up the problem, though it persists.
And I don’t necessarily mean these landlords are being deceptive to prospective tenants, though some undoubtedly are. In other cases, for various reasons, tenants may not detect or report problems with bed bugs that continue after treatment, and the landlord may simply have no idea.
Still, there may now be so many buildings affected that renters may simply have to consider not so much whether a building has had bed bugs, but what the landlord says about when and how the problem was dealt with.
In a mass email sent today, Christine Quinn says,
“If a landlord fails to provide you the attached bed bug disclosure form prior to your signing a lease, click here to file a complaint with the NYS Dept. of Housing and Community Renewal.”
Here is a PDF of the DBB-N: Notice to Tenant: Disclosure of Bed bug Infestation history.
You can also view Tenant Form DBB-NO: Tenant’s Complaint of Owner’s Failure to Disclose Bed bug Infestation History/Notice and Order (PDF). (The city removed this form from their website pretty swiftly. We don’t have another option for linking to it at this time.)
Updated 2/15/14 to add new link to Disclosure form DBB-N.