Adjoing Apartments and Preventative Treatment(12 posts)
Hi. I am a landlord and want to aggressively and responsibly treat a bb infestation that a tenant of mine is enduring. I really feel for this poor guy who is getting bitten alive at night. He personally found a big mound in his headboard. PCO came out with dog and confirmed. PCO is recommending full blown treatment on infested unit and preventative treatment for unit downstairs that is not infested (no other unit touches in my building...Its a row house and I have notified the adjoining landlords.) Shouldn't I be doing a full blown treatment for the uninfested unit in my building as well? The preventative treatment consists only of a treatment in the voids behind the walls. Can't these bugs just walk into your apartment under a doorway, through a windowsill or ceiling fixture?
I know I have a good PCO because they are thought of highly by folks on this site and I think they post here from time to time. I'm not calling into question his recommendations. Just want to understand so as to inspire some confidence for tenants and also to make sure they get the best treatments possible. There are decent landlords out there who will do all they can to protect their tenants
I'm not an expert, but some PCOs want to **treat** adjoining units only if there are actual bed bug signs. Most, I believe, recommend that adjoining units be **inspected** (and treated if necessary). Bed bugs do migrate through walls, utilities and common areas, if they outgrow their harborages, they are moved/disturbed or they're females tired of being molested by the males.
Ok. Thank you. It sounds like my guy is doing the right thing and taking an extra precaution which makes me feel good.
I just want to say that wherever you are located, I am coming to move into your building because you seem like an awesome landlord. It's rare to find one that actually cares about the well-being of the tenant and the state of his building more than cheaply pushing the bed bug problem under the rug (literally).
Thanks Nonamedone. I actually think there are good and bad landlords out there. I've got one of each on both sides of my building. When I notified my neighbor to the south, she called my PCO and scheduled a canine inspection and will be doing a preventative treatment even though none of her tenants feel that they have bed bugs. My neighbor to the north is bad. I learned this week that his tenants have been complaining for months about bed bugs and that he has done jack. When I called him on it he denies that they have bed bugs. I'm pretty sure my tenants got them through the adjoining wall of his building. Last month he had a set of tenants move out who left behind every stick of furniture in the place on the street.
I'm guessing now but perhaps this site has more representation from tenants with bad landlords? Bad landlords=more bed bugs=more stressed tenants=more tenants finding this site??
I think you sound awesome also.
You might enquire as to whether you have any rights in terms of local codes, to enforce the neighboring landlord getting his place treated.
Our local building department suggested that I contact the Rockland County Department of Environmental Health. I did this yesterday and talked to the Enforcement Officer who at face value seems to be taking my complaint seriously. I've encouraged other property owners and tenants nearby to call as well. The Enforcement Officer promised that he would make a surprise visit next door within the next few days. I'll be calling him next week to follow-up. I know I'm not supposed to open a can of fogger on bedbugs but is it ok to do so on a derelict jerk?
Thanks for your vote Nobugsonme. One more thought on the whole landlord thing. It's a business. Like any business, if you provide good service, treat people with the respect that we all want and add value people will buy your service. If you screw people over they will vote with their wallets and move on. The best business models are a win-win for all sides of a transaction. Those landlords out there who cut corners have a crappy business model and very likely incur far more costs associated with vacancy turnover and legal expenses than I will spend to eradicate bed bugs. You can't escape karma even under capitalism. Someday I'll tell y'all some real scarey tenant stories....
I agree with your assessment.
Unfortunately, in NYC, there is such a shortage of accommodation that perhaps less attention is given to value. Bed bugs are very expensive, and it's understandable that landlords -- who are victims of bed bugs along with their tenants-- will often do the minimum they can get away with. It does not save money in the long run, however, if the problem is not eliminated.
Hi Nobugsonme. While there are certainly a lot of irresponsible Landlords out there, there are even more decent ones who are simply not educated on this topic. This site is a wonderful resource but with my limited knowledge on this topic it seems that we need a lot more public education and awareness from our political leaders. In NYC there is more of this than in the surrounding suburbs or other parts of the country. It reminds me of the 80's and the HIV epidemic....the "We have no need to worry about HIV because it only affects a small percentage of the population who we really don't identify with anyhow".
Thank you for the acknowledgment that Landlords are victims too. Although, I certainly would rather be in my shoes than in those of my poor tenant. They have to go through days of drying, heating, and bagging. We learned yesterday that the PCO has instructed them to continue to live in the apartment during treatment so the bugs don't scatter. They were hoping to go upstate to escape the bugs and enjoy some rest at the end of the summer but now they are going to be bait for bed bugs so that their treatment can be as effective as possible. Just writing that down here made me realize that they are not only victims but heroes! If this continues to spread it becomes a problem for my other tenants, a bigger one for me and possibly also for the landlord of and the tenants in the unaffected attached building. I laud their efforts. Amazing! This is going to sound weird but are there people for hire who will reside in a residence while its being treated? I'd like for my tenant to be able to get away for awhile. I hire a guy who is not allergic to poison ivy to come pull it every so often. Same idea? Or bad idea?
LandLordinRockland - 17 minutes ago »
[...]While there are certainly a lot of irresponsible Landlords out there, there are even more decent ones who are simply not educated on this topic. This site is a wonderful resource but with my limited knowledge on this topic it seems that we need a lot more public education and awareness from our political leaders. In NYC there is more of this than in the surrounding suburbs or other parts of the country. It reminds me of the 80's and the HIV epidemic....the "We have no need to worry about HIV because it only affects a small percentage of the population who we really don't identify with anyhow".
Woos & yays for LLiR from across the pond! It's great to hear from a LL such as yourself.
First up, yes, there are people who will be bait for you but it's a tiny business niche, & as there's more than one tenant, you may find it hard to get enough professional bait to occupy all the beds for the duration. My purely personal impulse would be to cost a bait service & consider giving the tenants a break on their rent equivalent to what would have been the cost of hiring professional bait. Or perhaps to make them a direct gift of the equivalent sum that they can use to cover their costs? Although I did manage to get some treatment from my LL, I found that the non-PCO costs of treatment really mounted up.
I & my next-door-but one neighbours got infested because of a slumlord who'd rather get new tenants than respond to tenants' complaints & do repairs or control the infestations of mice, roaches, & BBs in his property. His property lay between our homes & his business model made our lives miserable for years. He owns a number of properties in the area, all with adjoining neighbours, & from conversations I had with his tenants, & from what I saw of the furniture they discarded, many of his properties have BBs, & at significant levels of population.
Without any legal duty to treat BBs, this landlord continues to put his tenants' wellbeing at risk, to put their neighbours at risk of infestation, or to infest them. His properties are, of course, reservoirs of potential infestation for others beyond direct neighbours, as the BBs may hitchike with tenants or their visitors.
Worse still, because of the lack of public education on the subject of BBs, I know that at least some of his ex-tenants, trying to escape their miserable situation, have gone on to infest other properties when they move. For those who do manage to find decent landlords like yourself, the absence of public education & effective regulation results in the problem & costs of BBs being handed on to people like you. This is simply wrong.
The area where I was living was a poor one, my former neighbours are poor people. Moving them into infested homes & then leaving them to face the financial burden of treatment is beyond unreasonable, but UK law as it stands, permits this guy to carry right on doing what he does.
As someone who was involved in early HIV education & support work back in the 80s, I can't agree enough with the comparison you draw. All the same barriers to effective action are there - misidentification of risk, disgust factors, shame, the social outsider status & consequent powerlessness of many sufferers (if you're poor enough to have to accept slum accommodation, no-one is listening to you in UK society), institutional inertia, & so on.
When it comes to bed bugs, it is actually a source of great optimism for me that things have changed so much in relation to HIV, & that some of the most conservative institutions in British society took up the gauntlet of activism.
IMO, it is for all of us who have encountered the problem of BBs to enage in a little light activism. It would be wonderful to hear a landlord's voice like yours in online housing forums & in the trade press. Your take on the BB problem is so refeshingly rational.
Our political leaders will not act to improve either public education or regulation unless the problem is brought to their attention, more LLs like you getting involved could spare us flawed or inappropriate legislation such as the proposed N Carolina legislation discussed here; http://bedbugger.com/2011/08/02/north-carolinas-misguided-landlordtenantbedbug-liability-bill-h721/
Once more with the kudos & I hope your problem is soon resolved.
LandLordinRockland - 8 hours ago »
This is going to sound weird but are there people for hire who will reside in a residence while its being treated? I'd like for my tenant to be able to get away for awhile. I hire a guy who is not allergic to poison ivy to come pull it every so often. Same idea? Or bad idea?
The idea is not unheard of but I do not know of anyone who provides the service in the NY area.
One complication to consider is whether the people you pay to sleep in will actually spend the night, not just say they did. I'm not an expert, but could you discuss with your PCO the use of active monitors (beacons) to substitute (somewhat) for your vacationing tenants? Finally, could your tenants do their prep, the PCO does an application for "knock down", then the home is left set up for an extra application just before the tenants' return?
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