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Just bought a co-op, learned it was/is infested with bugbugs. Help!

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  1. new mom nyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 13:03:23
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    My husband and I just closed on a co-op. Our lawyer told us that there had been a small bed bug problem a year ago in the building. After closing we were able to get a bit more info. They were in our apt., fisrt treated on 10/06, last treated 7/07 and 8/07 and I think at that time was when the previous tenant moved out. No treatment since then. I know they can live for 18 mon in the walls. I signed up with the building to get exterminated next week, and saw that there was someone else signed up to treat bedbugs, so I know they are still a problem in the building. I don't think the building is handling this well, they would not tell me which units had them, and kept it very hush hush. How do I do my best to make sure they are gone before we move in? I signed up with the building exterminator for the next 4 weeks in a row.

  2. angie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 13:27:52
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    Maybe you could try talking to the exterminator. He might be able to tell you some history on the apartment and where he has been spraying. He will be able to tell you what to look for as far as bb evidence. Also talk with the neighbors. I understand you are new to the area but if you introduce yourself and get to talking, in my experience, people will talk about bb's without even think about it. I learned alot about our apartments history and I had only met the neighbors a few times in passing and now they are good friends who also had a bb infestation though not as severe as ours.

  3. new mom nyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 14:02:55
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    Thank you. I have tried to talk to the seller's agent (who lives in the building), and the super, who referred my to the extermminator. I got the most infor from him, but even that was very vague. He told me to look at the log book at the front desk to see when my apartment was treated, and they would not let me flip through it to see the other apartments. I am a bit frustrated because as a co-op, I am an owner of shares in the building, one would think I should be able to have this info. I am thinking about having Pest Away come in a do an inspection, but from what I understand, the inspection is not gaurenteed. Perhaps I will just have them treat it mutiple times before moving in. I don't know if I trust the company my building uses. I will likely wrap my matress before moving and hold off on getting a new couch and table as planned. Any other advice?

  4. angie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 14:13:29
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    I would definetly wrap your mattress and hold off on that new couch for now. That's unfortunate that the super lives there cuz they are awful neighbors. I know by experience! My super told me that she doesn't have a problem so they weren't as aggressive as they should have been. Maybe you could go in sometime at night and look around for bugs and check out the trim for fecal spots. I also recommend looking up at the ceiling where the wall and ceiling meet. Do you have popcorn ceiling or flat painted? We have popcorn ceiling and I have found that they love the hiding spaces there.(popcorn ceiling is a textured ceiling) If you feel comfortable and you can legally, go spend the night there before moving in(I don't know about co-op's)? You might see the hungry bugs coming out for some fresh meat then you'll have your proof.

  5. new mom nyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 14:16:51
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    I thought about making my husband sleep there for bait. He was the one who disregarded the lawyers comments initally (he hadn't read the articles in the Times, I guess). When I told the doorman I was going to do this, the doorman offered himself up to sleep there as bait for $100 per night!

  6. angie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 14:27:06
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    Why pay the doorman when your husband would be free? Then maybe he would believe you and not send you for that psych appt!

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Dec 11 2007 20:40:14
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    It should be illegal not to disclose this stuff.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  8. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Dec 12 2007 0:20:37
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    Is there any jurisdictions where the local or regional Gov has a registry for bedbug infestations and treatment regimes? Would the legal issues be too great to lobby for this?

    I think that having a registry for confirmed infestations, where a tenant or property owner confirms a preliminary diagnosis, then a PCO confirms officailly, then the landlord confirms all the treatments correspond to Gov regulations.

    Oh wait, am I living on the Planet Earth where vested money interests hold sway over all forms of Government. Silly me...

  9. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Dec 12 2007 13:42:19
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    In the absence of good laws, buyer's agents, housing counselors and inspectors, etc. should be advising their clients to ask questions and inspect. It seems like the ethical thing to do.

  10. needtosleep

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Dec 12 2007 14:12:36
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    Please don't go with Pest Away. I had a terrible experience with them and had to hire another company to take over the sprayings.

  11. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Dec 12 2007 14:16:24
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    It looks like the bedbug problem was disclosed. new mom's attorney informed them that there was a "small bedbug problem" in the building.

    hmmm ... is there any such thing as a small bedbug problem? Bedbugs are small. But the problems they bring are not.

    Even if the seller discloses or buyer's attorney unearths it during due diligence, some people might have no idea about the pain bedbugs bring or the logistics of how they can spread in a multi-unit residence. They might go ahead with the deal anyway.

    I've seen renters come to these forums ask about moving into a building known to have bedbugs. They had reservations, but the presence of bedbugs in the building wasn't an automatic dealbreaker.

    On another forum, I've seen prospective buyers contemplate purchasing in a co-op with known bedbug infestations. Finding a place to live can be a toughie.

    EDIT -- reread new mom's post - I missed that the seller might not have informed them that bedbugs were in the actual unit for sale. And that they might've phrased things to make it seem the problem was in the past - a year ago.

    In any case, new mom nyc: the situation blows. I just closed on a condo, so I totally empathize with your situation. I wish you the best with your move and getting the problem solved. There was a poster here not too long ago. Her mother-in-law's apartment was infested. The unit had multiple treatments while the MIL was away traveling, i.e. no human bait in the apartment. Last I heard, she reported the treatments were successful.

    In addition to treating, I'd advise you try to seal up any entry points in your unit that might connect to bedbug highways in the building. Think electrical wires, plumbing, gaps in floor and ceiling joints.

  12. new mom nyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Dec 12 2007 16:04:07
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    Thanks fo all the responses. To be clear, during due diligence we heard there was a problem in a couple of unit a year ago. My husband brushed it off, he told me and I flipped. At the closing table, before closing I asked the rep from the managing company if there was a problem ever in our unit. He lied and said "no". When I later called the super, he said there was a problem in our unit. It is clear the sellers real estate broker knew this, as she lives in the building. Our real estate agent didn't want anything to happen to the deal, so he has not motivation to encourage us to ask, inspect. In addition, they aren't often seen on inspection if no one is living there.
    Needtosleep, please tell me what you problems were with pest away. I have an appointment with them tomorrow. They plan to do a treatment before we start construction to replace the floor, baseboards, and crown molding, and then one after. Pest Away seemed like the most referenced company (although I could tell that a lot was self advertisment). Please recommend who you suggest. Thanks.

  13. needtosleep

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Dec 13 2007 9:09:07
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    Pest Away would only let us make appointments one day prior, and then they called us to reschedule in the 11th hour (tough when you have to take time off work to be home for the spraying, not to mention when you have a small child who has to be out of the apartment). We had called that morning to confirm, and they said everything was ready to go ahead. When we insisted they keep the appointment, they sent a technician who didn't seem like a bedbug expert. He sprayed for about half an hour and had no idea what we were talking about when we asked about getting our outlets dusted.
    I also went to pick up some supplies from them. They screwed up, gave me the wrong materials (wrong-size mattress covers, etc.) and when I had to go back to their office (45 minutes away) the next day to rectify the situation, I got no apology. It took me three weeks to get a refund. They don't take credit cards and I had to call every couple of days to remind them to send me a check. If I were you, I'd go with a company that a) does inspections b)provides a written contract c)returns your calls. Please PM me for more info.

  14. parakeets

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Dec 13 2007 13:49:09
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    I'm sorry this had to happen at what should be a happy time in your life, moving into a new home. If you specifically asked at the closing if your unit had bedbugs and were told it didn't, I think you have some grounds to fight. If the building has had bedbugs for a long time and they have not been effectively treated, it will now be very costly and extremley difficult--perhaps nearly impossible in the short term--to get rid of them permanently.

    I would do everything you possibly can at this time to avoid moving into this building and see if you can legally get out of the sale. When you ask "How do I do my best to make sure they are gone before we move in?" I'd say you can't make sure they are gone before you move in unless **all** units in the ***entire*** building are treated several times in a row. It is not enough to say "I signed up with the building exterminator for the next 4 weeks in a row." That's the same building exterminator this building has had, and the building still has bedbugs. Obviously not working.

    And just the fact that this building is "hush hush" about bedbugs concerns me gravely. They cannot have an effective education and treatment plan for bedbugs in this building if it is "hush hush." As someone who has lived in a building that has treated bedbugs ineffectively for two years, I can tell you the problem will not go away with this type of handling, and you are moving into a bedbug zone. If you have to move into this building, maybe only take things with you that you are willing to dispose of. I hate to be negative, but it sounds so much like where I live. They HAVE been treating my building. I still have bedbugs. Read as much as you can about bedbugs on this board and people's stories because you are going into a potentially very personally difficult situation. Insomnia, tears, stress, itching, throwing things out, bagging, vaccuming ... these have become part of our lives. None of us here have knowingly moved into a unit with bedbugs so I admire your courage.

  15. angie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Dec 13 2007 13:53:43
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    Don't forget about the endless loads of laundry and the pacing the floors at night to make sure they are not feasting on your kids!!!

  16. buggub

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Dec 13 2007 17:24:52
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    Hi New Mom NYC,
    We're using dial a bug, in Brooklyn. They are significantly less expensive and they come back for a second treatment at least. With Pest Away, it costs significantly more per room and you have to buy extra chemicals and do lots of stuff yourself. But they are very helpful on the phone... I bought their mattress covers and they ripped right away.

  17. parakeets

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Dec 27 2007 17:35:18
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    What's up New Mom NYC? Did you move in yet or decide not to? Does your screen name "New Mom NYC" mean you have a baby? That's something else to consider if you are moving to a building that is not effectively dealing with bedbugs --and keeping it hush hush, to outright stretching the truth about it at closings is NOT dealing effectively with the problem.

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Dec 28 2007 0:29:55
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    persona and New Mom--

    New Mom Said,

    "My husband and I just closed on a co-op. Our lawyer told us that there had been a small bed bug problem a year ago in the building. After closing we were able to get a bit more info. They were in our apt., fisrt treated on 10/06, last treated 7/07 and 8/07 and I think at that time was when the previous tenant moved out. No treatment since then."

    So the lawyer said the building had bed bugs a year ago. Only after closing did New Mom dig and find out the apt. was treated between 10/6 and 8/7. The last two treatments were 4 and 5 months ago. Not a year at all. Does not sound like honest, full disclosure to me.

  19. fightorflight

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue May 20 2008 23:52:39
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    Nobugs: "It should be illegal not to disclose this stuff."

    Where I live, it is illegal. It has to be right there in the seller's disclosure, along with cracked foundation, etc. And you can't just say "Not aware" or "not known" or you open yourself up to liability as a seller if the problem still exists.

    This is a good thing, just not so good for me as it turned out.

  20. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed May 21 2008 7:37:37
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    Just to follow up on nobugs' last post many months ago-

    I agree there was nothing approaching honest, full disclosure. But I've learned from experience that when buying property in New York: if the buyer has NOTICE of the problem before the sale (even if that notice comes from discovery by their attorney), then that might put certain limitations on the remedies available to buyer.

    Buyer MUST beware. You cannot find evidence that a bedbug problem was in the building and then choose not to investigate further or protect yourself legally. Even if the bedbug problem was not specific to your unit ... it might be like mold which can travel through an entire structure and does not appreciate the boundaries of deeds and tax lots.


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