Brooklyn tenant not warned of bed bugs before moving in

by nobugsonme on January 28, 2007 · 14 comments

in bed bugs, housing laws, information and help, legal aspects of bed bugs, new york, usa

by Nobugsonme

This story is happening every day, unfortunately. This blogger, eefers, actually asked the previous tenant specifically whether the unit had bed bugs before moving in. He said, “Nope.” Now, now, he admits they had had them three separate times “and got rid of them each time”. I don’t know what kind of time frame they’re talking about, but I’d bet that’s the same infestation, coming back. There should be a special circle in hell for people who don’t disclose stuff like this.

It’s tricky if it’s the former tenant who lied. I assume the management was aware, but some tenants think it’s better to not mention such things to the landlord (they’re always wrong). It would be easy to prove the landlord knew, and darn, somebody has to take a landlord to court for lying about the presence of bed bugs.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is one of the city’s bed bug hotspots, as is its neighboring ‘hood, Williamsburg. But as our daily visitors come from all over the world, and communities large and small, this is not just a local problem here in NYC.

Eefers, if you see this, I think the FAQs might help. Let us know if you need anything.

Eefers’ story made Gawker, so hopefully a lot of people will hear about this.

1 Bugalina January 28, 2007 at 10:09 am

Very scary….the guy who rented her the apt. said something that should be of note, ” it’s not an apt. problem , it’s a neighborhood problem”, This is whats happening…they are spreading from lone apts. to entire bldgs, to entire neighborhoods…Bugalina

2 buggedinbrooklyn January 28, 2007 at 1:04 pm

…from entire neighborhoods, to entire cities. from entire cities, to entire states. from entire states, to OUR entire contry. that’s right, our good old USA wil be fully infested before anyone in our government will even do something about it…and it’s a crying shame.
at least NYC has the best anti terrorist police force in the world. sadly NYC stinks against the bedroom terrorists.
yet we fight the good fight by ourselves, because we don’t ask for help for fear of passing on the bastards. and we do the best we can, with newspapers and mayors ridiculing us endlessly. we fight, they sleep…they will get them one day and be in the same pot we are in. it’s just a matter of time.

after I just read my father’s “will” to my sister, she found out that the furniture in the house is to be split 50/50 between us. can someone tell me how much a leather couch is worth in great condition, yet with only a few visitors living inside? what about a nice wooden table that I found 2 dead bedbugs on it the other day…how much is that worth?
my sister does want to sell the furniture, I’m sure. if only to force me to not have a seat to sit on…yes, she hates me that much. lol
yet, how do you even sell such items now that they are infested…even if they are only thought to have bugs, or be near them? personaly, I can’t find it in my heart to sell anything without warning the buyer in wrighting…and getting a signiture. but is this fear of selling and buying the new reality? what if people start getting bedbugs from ebay? oh, noes.

just my thoughts,

3 Bugalina January 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

You cannot sell furniture that possibly has bed bugs in it, or bed bug eggs, This is bad karma…very bad…Tell your sister that the furniture cannot be sold until such time you are absolutely certain you have been successful in your extermination…this is generally a 3 month minimum…there are some things more important than money..and this is one of those circumstances…I don’t know how I could sleep knowing I sold something that had bed bugs in it…Please buggedinbrooklyn, stand up for your principles…..again I want to express my condolences for the loss of your Dad….he is in a more peaceful place..Bugalina

4 jessinchicago January 28, 2007 at 3:25 pm

What’s really scary to me about this situation- the eefer situation- is the general attitude of the previous tenant. It strikes me as not so much an intentional lie, really, on his part. It seems like the guy had no concept of the reasons behind his infestation and reinfestation and reinfestation. I think he honestly believed it WAS a “neighborhood” problem, not a building or unit problem. That, my friends, is scary.

It’s the ignorance out there- the general lack of knowledge- that perpetuates the spread. And while we here at bedbugger are spending countless hours trying to make good information available to everyone, it seems that bad information remains much more prevalent on the streets.

I think that when people get bedbugs, they want a quick fix. They want them gone. That is the main concern. I mean, nobody wants to tolerate bugs feeding on their blood at night. But there’s a much bigger picture here, one that people don’t seem to be aware of until it’s too late, and they’ve contributed to the spread. That bigger picture revolves around the fact that if you have bedbugs, you automatically have a social responsibility that must be recognized. Landlords need to be informed. Neighboring apartments need to be inspected. Lifestyles need to be changed so that bedbugs are not transported to work or to laundromats or to other homes.

Yes, that social responsibility and the potentially embarrassing tasks that comes with it make us uncomfortable. No one wants to change the way they live because of bugs. No one really wants to make that call to their landlord- the one admitting that there’s an infestation in their home. But these things MUST be done. The eefers situation is a fine example of what happens when people shirk their social responsibility- because of ignorance or otherwise.


5 Buggylicious January 28, 2007 at 8:32 pm

B’d in Bklyn: I thought about that, having gotten bed bugs from ebay. I buy things like pottery and my son buys electronic stuff.

6 Buggylicious January 28, 2007 at 8:32 pm

correction: “possibility of” having gotten bb’s from ebay

7 Bugalina January 28, 2007 at 9:44 pm

I would NEVER buy anything now on ebay…never…I used to buy also…but not now…this bug has “changed the way I do business”…Bugalina

8 nobugsonme January 28, 2007 at 10:02 pm

eBay is a possibility but so is shoppping for new things in a store, or online. I don’t think it’s a huge problem, but it depends what you buy.

Last spring, a relative saw a bed bug running across the dressing room floor in a well-known (and not low-end) children’s clothing store in a well-known outlet mall in suburban Chicago. She knew what they looked like because she’d just seen one of the big news shows do a feature.

Sales of soft furniture (from designer office chairs to sofas and dining room chairs that are upholstered) and beds and mattresses should all be banned until further notice from Craigslist, freecycle, and other re-sale or re-cycle stores and boards.

Of course, you could get bed bugs from any sold or re-sold items. But the used soft furniture and bedframes are the most dangerous IMO. Oh, and used wicker.

9 Bugalina January 29, 2007 at 8:30 am

Everything you say is true nbom…I had won something on ebay which arrived about 3 weeks before the bed bugs showed up…an antique brass hollow-tubed towel rack….who knows what kind of environment it came out of…and why the person was selling stuff…I couldn’t be comfortable now, with anything coming from an unknown residence from ebay…craigslist..any of them…Bugalina

10 buggedinbrooklyn January 29, 2007 at 10:25 am

first off, no, if I can help it, I’m not selling anything, even after 3 months of no bites. yet I might not have much of a choice. after all, the stuff is only half mine, and my sister can at times be unreasonable.

I agree with Jess that we have a “responsability” to our neighbors to help stop the spread of the bugs. but I would call that a “moral responsibility”. the “social responsibility” belongs on our city officials who we voted for and apointed to office. I’LL NEVER TAKE THAT “SOCIAL RESOPSABILITY” AWAY FROM THEM!!!
of corse it’s just symantics, but I think you know what I mean. 😉
anyway, I still think it’s a neighborhood problem. soon to be a city wide problem. then a state problem. heck, who can say that city hall doesn’t already have bedbugs? after all, our police stations and fire houses have them. so do our jails, and schools. oh, hell, it’s not a neiborhood problem…it’s a city problem already.


11 jessinchicago January 29, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Interesting point, Brooklyn. I like it.


12 nobugsonme January 29, 2007 at 5:24 pm

Bugged is right. It’s a city issue. But it’s also a federal problem. Even if it was just isolated to one city, it would be a problem the federal government should be concerned about.

IF it were an isolated problem, like a serious tornado that causes thousands of dollars (or more) damage to every home it hit, and in the case of large buildings tens of thousands, it would be taken seriously as a “disaster area.”

But it is not only a problem for those in localities it’s already hit. It’s spreading everywhere and fast.

13 fightorflight February 25, 2008 at 6:29 am

Nobugs indicated resales of soft furniture should be particularly suspect. I would add to that anything that might have been in a bedroom. I had clothes stored on ordinary Ikea steel/wood bookcases which I know to be infested. If anyone saw them at a flea market, however, he/she would never know they had been in a bedroom. In fact, now that I think about it, my “night tables,” another item I know to be infested, were nothing but iron & wood stools and do not look like at all like typical night tables. So I guess we all go back to the same conclusion: Be very suspect about *all* used furniture.

About selling furniture with risk of bedbugs: I will repeat something I posted a while ago. Before I knew I had bedbugs, I listed my futon couch on Craigslist. Someone looked at it, liked it and wrote me a check. But she couldn’t pick it up at the time because she needed to get a truck. Upon getting the bad news, I called her later in the week and said, I’ve got bedbugs, deal’s off. I later found an egg nest in the futon seam. I almost sold a piece of furniture without even knowing it had bugs.

Oh but, the initial reason I wanted to post on this: An update in Eefer’s blog says that the bedbug scare was a false alarm! Hooray for him!

14 nobugsonme February 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm

FoF, thanks–I missed the update. However, eefers does appear to live in the Astral apartments in Greenpoint–other tenants there have claimed to have bed bugs. Perhaps the infestation in eefers’ apartment before she moved in has abated, but the building does seem to be a potential danger zone.

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