Bedbugs Feel Particularly at Home in Flatbush, Study Finds

Out of 1,000 renting households in Flatbush, 18.1 percent reported a bedbug infestation.

Flatbush residents are more likely to suffer a bedbug infestation than other New Yorkers, according to a new report by The report found that out of 1,000 renting households, 18.1 percent reported an infestation.

Localize analysts examined bedbug-related violations issued by the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation Development from September 2013 to August 2018. While they discovered a 28-percent decline over the five-year period, experts warn that it does not mean that bedbug infestations are indeed decreasing.

“Incidents are not going down. But a lot of new laws are in place making it harder for landlords to run from the problem,” said Timothy Wong, founder of M&M Pest Control. “So now, whenever there’s a bedbug issue, tenants are going straight to the landlord instead of calling 311. There’s less of a reason to go to the city, so complaints are going down.”

The city has ramped up efforts to hold landlords accountable for bedbugs. Under the 2010 Bed Bug Disclosure Act, landlords must notify prospective tenants about any infestations in the building during the past year. Since 2017, the Local Law 69 act requires all multi-family building owners to report to the city a year’s worth of bedbug infestation history for each unit, including remediation methods.

“That doesn’t mean that landlords are doing the right thing,” Wong added. “There’s no requirement for how you’re supposed to treat or inspect for bedbugs.”

Flatbush took the top spot of NYC's most bedbug infested neighborhood.

Renters concerned about a potential infestation can always consult, the company’s President Steve Kalifowitz pointed out. 

“Bedbug infestations are expensive, difficult to eradicate and notorious for spreading from apartment-to-apartment,” Kalifowitz said. “We make it easy to find out if your building had bedbugs in the past. We’ve recently introduced an ‘update me’ feature that will notify you if bedbugs are found in your building after you’ve moved in, so you can proactively protect your unit.”

While Flatbush claimed the top spot among NYC neighborhoods, the Bronx took the lead as most infested borough, followed by Brooklyn. Inside Kings County, Prospect Lefferts Garden ranked second, followed by East New York, Ditmas Park and Bushwick. 

To see the full report, go here.

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