Prohibits landlords from renting units known to have current bed bug infestations.
Requires landlords to provide bed bug educational materials to existing and new tenants.
Prohibits tenants from moving items into the building if they are known to be infested with bed bugs.
Requires tenants to notify landlords in writing or electronically of the presence of bed bugs.
Fox 10 in Phoenix notes that local commentators had mixed responses to the new law:
“I think it’s a balanced law it puts an obligation on the tenants but it also puts an obligation on the landlord as well,” says attorney Scott Clark.
But Ken Volk, an advocate for Arizona Tenants says the law has no teeth. Volk says the law doesn’t say what will happen if an apartment is found to be infested with bedbugs.
“it doesn’t go the extra step of saying the lease is terminated, invalidated, and the landlord must return the security deposit and all the payments,” says Volk.
And as always with this kind of legislation, the big question is: how will the law be enforced?
Here’s one problem: Landlords can’t knowingly rent out an infested unit. Most traditional spray/dust treatment protocols require units to be occupied during treatment. So how will landlords effectively treat infested units which are unoccupied if structural heat and Vikane gas fumigation are not an option?
Another problem: what will be required of landlords in terms of a unit being considered cleared:
- A dog inspection?
A visual inspection by a human?
No bites being reported?
The landlord not seeing bed bugs?
Implementation of rigorous active or passive bed bug monitoring systems?
And yet another problem hinges on a definition: the bill states that
“Infestation” or “infested” means that the presence of bedbugs is sufficient to materially affect the health and safety of tenants and their guests.
In my assessment, that’s one bed bug.
How will those in charge of enforcing this law define the number of bed bugs “sufficient to materially affect the health and safety” of tenants and guests?
You can watch Fox 10 Pheonix’s report here (if no video is embedded below).