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NYC: Landlord's Liability For PCO Costs

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  1. apostasy_mcgee

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 12 2008 16:52:02
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    A little back-story then my question.

    In early March 2008 I began waking up with these unsightly red bumps on my legs and couldn't understand what sort of uber-mosquito could survive the harsh New York winter to come in and bite me with such vengeful regularity. After much puzzling and research I reluctantly admitted to myself that it was probably bedbugs. (Don't we all remember that hideous moment when we came to the realization that we do indeed have a bedbug infestation that will inexorably change our lives for the worse?) Creepy, time-consuming and expensive are three adjectives that came to mind but I put on a happy face and chalked it up to the annoying but solvable hazards of urban living.

    I immediately phoned the landlord and began working with the PCO who has been treating my building for more mundane pests monthly for the past five years. In all the years he's been coming by to spray for roaches and hand out mousetraps he's proven himself a knowledgeable and capable exterminator. He outlined the standard plan of action (mattress cover, laundered clothing in plastic bags, sealed cracks/crevices, etc.) and told me about his many successful bedbug eradications all over the city.

    From the beginning of this extermination process (Drione powder plus PCO's own special blend of liquid spray) I expected to be done at the conclusion of three to four treatments but needless to say he's just finished treatment number six and I'm still being bitten. Nearly four months later with still no light at the end of the tunnel!

    Now, my question. Because I live in a large rent-stabilized building the landlord has paid for all extermination services so far. Because it is patently obvious that the current PCO's techniques/chemicals aren't working I want to try a different PCO of my own choosing. Would my landlord remain obligated to pay the cost of eradication services with a PCO of my choosing or could they legally claim that they're fulfilling their obligation by continuing to support the ineffective methodologies of the current PCO?

    At this point I'm looking strongly at the Cryonite freezing treatment offered by the Stern Environmental Group but would certainly rather not pay the $1200 I was quoted if the landlord could pay it instead. (I've also heard good things about Standard Exterminating in Astoria and Cesar/Tre - any personal PCO recommendations would be helpful.) Does anyone know of any relevant precedents that could shed some light on this matter? Any advice is certainly appreciated - thanks!

  2. prayforamiracle

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 12 2008 16:56:15
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    I will reccommend Cesar and Tre.
    he knows his stuff...,

  3. terrifiedtosleep

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 12 2008 17:36:42
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    I 2nd Cesar and Tre!

    He has helped me SO much during this delima.
    He's not sure if the apartment can be entirely effectively treated because my roommate has too much stuff and the apt is old.. but if I have to move, I'm using him for sure and he's made me feel good about all of this..

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Jun 13 2008 9:44:18
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    "Because it is patently obvious that the current PCO's techniques/chemicals aren't working I want to try a different PCO of my own choosing. Would my landlord remain obligated to pay the cost of eradication services with a PCO of my choosing or could they legally claim that they're fulfilling their obligation by continuing to support the ineffective methodologies of the current PCO?"

    Probablky the latter. Check with Met Council on Housing--they're in the links
    http://bedbugger.com/links/

    "At this point I'm looking strongly at the Cryonite freezing treatment offered by the Stern Environmental Group but would certainly rather not pay the $1200 I was quoted if the landlord could pay it instead. (I've also heard good things about Standard Exterminating in Astoria and Cesar/Tre - any personal PCO recommendations would be helpful.) Does anyone know of any relevant precedents that could shed some light on this matter? Any advice is certainly appreciated - thanks!"

    You can click the TAG links above to see discussions of NYC PCOs, cryonite, cesar, and standard.

    But my biggest concern for you is this: if your neighbors have bed bugs, and are not treated, you will not get rid of bed bugs, no matter how wonderful your PCO is.

    I strongly encourage you to talk with the landlord about this: were neighbors professionally inspected? Your landlord can't go on whether they're complaining or whether they SEE bed bugs or bites, since up to 50% of folks DON'T react to bites and most don't see bed bugs until they're really bad.

    My advice would be that unless the landlord gets neighbors proper inspections and treatment, you will not get rid of bed bugs and hiring someone would be a waste of money.

    If neighbors were inspected once, perhaps it's time for a professional to look again, more carefully.

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

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