Top “Bed Bug” City Proposes New Rental Ordinance

by | Feb 4, 2013 | Rental Property Management Tips

Apparently, Chicago lawmakers don’t like their city’s dubious new honor of being ranked the number one city for bed bugs.

Last month, pest control company Orkin published its list of the top 50 cities for bedbugs, based on the number of properties treated by the company. To see the list, visit The Top Cities for Bedbugs.

Chicago’s City Council now is moving forward a rental ordinance that forces landlords to get tough with these bugs.

Should the draft measure pass, landlords could be fined from $300 to $1,000 if bed bugs found in rentals are not completely eradicated.

The measure declares bed bugs a public nuisance, which triggers the requirement that the nuisance be abated. That duty falls on landlords.

A Joint Committee formed between members of the Health and Environmental Protection and Housing and Real Estate Committees drafted the proposed legislation.

The measure makes it clear that a property owner, not the tenant, is responsible for bed bug control. A distinction is made in the law between owners of rental properties, and condos or co-op boards, with landlords shouldering a tougher burden. Basically, landlords are required to provide pest control “as many times as necessary to totally eliminate the reported bed bug problem.” Condo boards must come up with a plan to tackle the problem, should it arise, within 90 days of the ordinance passing.

Any extermination efforts on the part of landlords would include an inspection, and if necessary, the treatment of the two dwelling units on either side of the affected dwelling unit and the two units directly above and below the affected dwelling unit. Treatment must continue until no further infestation is detected.

Landlords would be required to keep written records outlining pest management measures taken. These records must remain open for city inspection.

Prior to any tenant entering into or renewing a rental agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant an informational brochure on bed bug prevention and treatment, which is to be prepared by the department of health.

Tenants, too, will have a part to play. They will be required to notify the landlord in writing as soon as they notice or suspect an infestation, and to cooperate fully with the prescribed pest control plan, including cleaning or vacuuming prior to treatments, and throwing out affected belongings like furniture and bedding that cannot be treated. Landlords must provide written notice of treatment instructions.

The draft ordinance is scheduled for another meeting of the City Council in two weeks.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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