Signed lease for new apt last week - just got listed on Bed Bug Registry !(21 posts)
Hi everyone, I appreciate any feedback in advance.
My friends and I just signed a lease for a 3br apartment. They told us that the apartment below our unit and our unit had a bed bug problem in October (stemming from the unit below) and that since then, both apartments were treated. And that the landlord got so paranoid he treated the rest of the building in December.
We decided to take the apartment after asking him for references on what company they used to treat, complaints I've seen on HPD (all of which received no violations issued for the complaints except for the unit he told us about with the problem, which was treated).
So we signed the lease last week, and I just saw that 4 days ago our apartment got added to bed bug registry! And specifically that the tenants in our apartment moved out because the problem wasn't being taken care of and that they have spread to multiple floors.
We have no idea what to do. We paid for first and last and a broker fee, and we move in 10 days. I'm relieved we haven't moved our belongings in yet, but have no idea what steps to take and in which direction. If a complaint is dismissed on HPD, does that mean it's okay? Could it be that the tenants are being paranoid? Would it even be possible to get our money back and break the lease considering we don't have proof there's a problem?
Any help would be so much appreciated. Thanks!
Oh, and this is in Brooklyn, NY
Hi, BK. My non expert thoughts regarding your dilemma:
A building can be BB-free, then develop a problem.
A building can have a problem, then get it under control.
A LL can treat "building wide", but due to non-cooperation of individual units, not resolve or re-infest.
A building can have a major BB issue, but no listings on the registry.
It's hard to say which of these scenarios you're facing.
Does the landlord seem reasonable and professional?
Is the building maintained in a manner that seems like they care?
Do they use a reputable PCO for their work?
Could you negotiate some concessions?
Can you and your friends work together harmoniously?
A key thing to be concerned about is that chemical/dust treatment works best when someone stays in the home to bait the bugs out of hiding, over the poisons & dusts. That doesn't happen in a vacant unit.
If I were facing this situation and I decided that it's a responsible building, I'd do the following:
- Treat my first 2 months as a high-risk period
- Have the landlord treat the apartment, including residual dusts, just before move-in.
- Get rid of boxes, but keep everything I don't immediately need (or is hard to treat) wrapped in plastic.
- Mattresses and box springs in good encasements.
- Upholstered furniture sealed in giant poly bags.
- Passive monitors (like climb-ups) installed.
- General vigilance.
- Treatment and travel protocols (see FAQ ) invoked at first sign of trouble.
If I didn't feel comfortable about the building or if it turns out badly, I'd get some legal advice. (A letter from an attorney might ensure cooperation from the LL for breaking the lease).
You must review our site's FAQ, start to finish & get a solid background on
A big dilemma for people is moving out in mid infestation and not take the bugs to your next place. Here's a link to a thread where a tenant was (allegedly) lied to by the LL, and the ensuing angst. http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/no-treatment-so-should-i-throw-everything-out
I hope this works out well for you.
If it were me, honestly, I wouldn't move in. I would look to see what legal recourse you have to recover some or all of your monies but even if I had to leave those funds on the table I'd still walk away. It's just not worth the aggravation, and depending on your psychology and temperament, potentially mental distress and lost sleep that you will likely have.
I wouldn't have moved in hearing that news but Cilecto is right and makes a good point. A building can be fine and then develop a problem and I guess no matter where you live there is no escaping that possibility. Look at your options right away about getting out of there if things go sideways.
One thing I meant to add: Get a hold of a "prep sheet" from a reputable PCO. These instructions should give you perspective of what the tenant needs to do to be ready for treatment. Move in with the understanding that you may need to do that shortly.
I am curious whether the landlord gave you the city's official disclosure form prior to your signing the lease, or if this was a verbal disclosure?
If a complaint leads to an HPD inspection and there's no violation, my understanding is it means the inspector dd not find evidence of bed bugs.
We've heard that all complaints don't lead
to inspections-- so it's possible that no inspection could also be the reason no violation was filed.
Hi everyone, thanks so much for all the input. Still not sure what we'll do, but Cilceto, I totally agree with all your points. And the fact that I know nyc has a big bed bug problem and realistically there's a good chance I will have to at one point deal with it (This is the first time in the 6 years I've lived here, but a few of my friends have had to deal with them over the years). So I understand it can be inevitable. The reason we decided to sign the lease was specifically for that reason. We all understand we can drag them in from anywhere, and I especially travel quite a bit. But we were going on the word of the landlord and broker with their saying the problem was treated. And so many buildings have histories of the little critters..
On top of that, Nobugsonme, the landlord gave me an official city disclosure that stated "During the past year the apartment had a bedbug infestation history and eradication measures were employed."
We're going to discuss tonight. We may not have grounds to break the lease with no proof that the bugs are there. I'm only going on a complaint from bedbugregistery.com that was posted within the past 5 days.
I'm thinking before we move in, to have an inspection done by someone I hire myself. That way if they find anything I will at least have more grounds to terminate lease.
What do you all think?
Thanks again! I really appreciate it
Nobugsonme - ONE complaint did lead to an actual violation. But it has been the only one, and not from the apartment we're moving in to, but the one below. The complain on bbregistery was also written by the person in the same apartment.
> On top of that, Nobugsonme, the landlord gave me an official city disclosure that stated "During the past year the apartment had a bedbug infestation history and eradication measures were employed."
Unfortunately, that language indicates effort, not result.
I think an inspection is a good idea.
You should get someone who does a careful human inspection or a dog team that visually verifies alerts (see our FAQ).
Note that if you find obvious evidence, calling the city next would be an option. (HPD do have a dog, but they don't send it to every job and it used to be said the human inspectors expected to see live crawling bugs and did not go to much trouble to find them-- I hope this has changed, and to be fair, we have heard they've had more training for bed bugs more recently. We haven't heard from anyone who's had an HPD inspection in a long time from what I recall.)
Calling 311 might alienate the landlord, but it may help you get a better solution and is probably warranted if your inspector finds obvious signs.
Do not move into that apartment. I had to get rid of all my stuff because I had moved into an apartment infested with bed bugs and the landlord did not disclose that information or treat the infestation. I eventually had to move because the infestation was so bad that I had bed bugs coming out during the day and crawling on my walls and ceilings because I had glue traps on the floor. I advise to get your money back and whatever you do not go into that apartment. By the way I lived in Brooklyn too.
Maybe try setting up a beacon for a week? Or have the LL pay for a canine inspection. I know they are not always reliable (out of 4 dogs 2 were bad, 2 were spot on) and also depends onthe handler.
I worked in Real Estate in NYC for years and and empty apt is a money pit for a LL. If he (or she) is truly interested in renting and is honest about the treatment they should comply. A dog sniff on an empty apt should not exceed $400.
That being said, since i had them, I would never move into someplace that was infested so recently.
Good luck to you!
Updates. I got the name of the pest control company that the landlord said they used a few months ago and I spoke to them directly. They said they did indeed treat the apartment we're moving into, and the tenants at the time complied with all the preparation work they had to do, they used the chemical Suspend, and did a 2 visit treatment. So I at least now know that the landlord was honest about treating the problem. For our own piece of mind we're hiring someone to inspect the empty apartment before we move in and do preventative treatment. At this point it is unfortunately all we can do, since my roommates and I can't afford to lose the $$ we paid for the apartment (first, last, broker). I'll keep you posted for when we have the inspection.
Don't feel bad about moving in. You might as well, for the reasons you give and other reasons given here. If everyone gets all freaked out because they hear bugs were/are/have been in some building, no one will have any place to live after a while. I have remained in a building for almost 2 years, knowing full well that they are still in the building in some apts. My own apt. is clear now, and that is the best I can do. I don't move out because I have no idea what is/was/will be going on in other buildings, but at least I know the situation here. The landlords can't be blamed for all these things; they could tent down a whole building and torch the insides with heat, and spend tens of thousands of dollars only to have some later tenant bring them back in again. So I have just learned a new way of life, constantly monitoring, watching, heating things, cleaning, simplifying, keeping guard. This is the way it will be from now on for anyone who wants to protect themselves against and infestation.
My own belief is that probably at least half of the apartments in medium to large cities in the US have had one or more cases of bugs, and eventually most of them will. The advice you get here sometimes, to NEVER move into a place that has had them, is foolish and unrealistic. No one can escape the possiblity of bedbugs, as others have pointed out here. There is no place to run and hide. There isn't anyone to blame either, unless we want to blame prehistoric humans for moving into caves.
It's just all so foolish. Everyone has to live somewhere, and bedbugs are everywhere so the only thing to do is watch and follow the abundant protocols described at this site.
I have to echo the sentiments of the post above mine.
In some areas (such as where I live) the city has enough cases ongoing or continuing to crop up that it is a double edged sword as far as moving. There is just as much of a chance of there being undiscovered bed bugs anywhere in the town I live in, so I feel like moving into an unknown situation is just as bad or worse than living in a building where at least people are more aware of the situation.
Honestly, I think the only way I could move somewhere and NOT worry I was just moving right back into another unit that had a few bugs hiding in cracks after their previous hosts left; would be if the entire building was vikaned before I moved in. Obviously I jest at least a little bit, I know that isn't a viable solution. In a roundabout way it's my way of agreeing that they are just about "everywhere" anyway, at least in some parts of the country.
*edited to add* Now, my pipe dream...yes..my pipe dream, is buying a house, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with an attached "decontamination room," something like the dude from the movie Creepshow. Hmm...a room completely devoid of fabrics, where all items get dropped into self sealing vikane containers (including clothes and bags!), where they get nuked before ever touching the floor. A shower in the same room, so no bugs can ever enter the house itself! LOL if only I had the money for such a thing to be built.
> something like the dude from the movie Creepshow
and we know how that ended.
I'm actually dreaming about a bed bug proof house - one with a decon room, that could also be entirely and uniformally heated to 120°F using its own heating system. White tiles, everywhere, no cracks.
cilecto - 48 minutes ago »
> something like the dude from the movie Creepshow
and we know how that ended.
LOL yes I do recall.
For what it's worth, I'd try to break the lease. Just because the apartment was treated doesn't mean that the bugs are gone. An inspection is only as good as the inspector! I know from personal experience in NYC that we fled a dorm room and left plenty of evidence (fresh dead bugs and their fecal matter on the sheets) and were told that the room was later inspected by a PCO and they found nothing! When we fled, we took some of the above in triple sealed plastic bags to our own PCO/entomologist and had it identified and sure enough, it was dead bed bugs and fecal matter! So I wouldn't necessarily believe that the apartment passed inspection.
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