Misled About BedBugs? Ask Real Estate

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Michael Kolomatsky/The New York Times

The New York Times | by Ronda Kaysen | November 21, 2014

Q. My wife and I recently signed a one-year lease for an apartment. It included a rider stating that all apartments in our building had been bedbug-free for at least one year before our move-in date. After we moved in, we learned from the superintendent that an apartment in our building had been infested by bedbugs and treated a few weeks before our move-in date. Needless to say, we were disturbed by this news — and want to know our rights. As we understand it, the landlord is responsible for the costs of fumigating. Who is responsible for other expenses, like replacing mattresses and furniture? Since we were misled (and have the signed rider as proof), can we demand remuneration for any repairs or replacement costs we might be forced to incur?

Astoria, Queens

A. There are two plausible explanations for what happened here, neither of them good. Either your landlord was woefully ill-informed about the state of the building or he lied. In either case, I would be concerned about how effectively the infested apartment was treated for bedbugs, which are notoriously hardy creatures.

“If this is a landlord who is willing to lie on a disclosure form,” said David Hershey-Webb, a lawyer who represents tenants, “then the tenants may not have a lot of faith in the landlord to adequately address the bedbug problem.”

The New York City administrative code requires landlords to disclose whether or not an apartment has been treated for bedbugs in the last year. The measure does not include any penalties for violating the law. However, if you do get bedbugs and incur damage to your personal property, you could take the landlord to small claims court and use that erroneous disclosure form as evidence of negligence. Under normal circumstances, a landlord is required to treat the infestation and a tenant is responsible for cleaning personal belongings, Mr. Hershey-Webb said.

But before we wander too far down the road of future infestations, determine your risk. If the affected apartment is adjacent to yours or in the same line, you have good reason for concern. But if several floors and walls separate you from that apartment, your risk is considerably lower.

“If it’s an immediately adjacent unit or if it’s in that line, it could have an effect,” said Gil Bloom, the president of Standard Pest Management and an entomologist. “Outside of that, it normally does not make a difference.”

Once you have assessed your risk, decide whether you want to stay in the apartment. Ultimately, you might want to consider packing up your belongings and moving out before the bugs move in. You “have the option to try to rescind the lease on the basis of fraud,” Mr. Hershey-Webb said. Consult with a lawyer to see if you can get out of the lease. Otherwise, you may find yourself battling a bedbug infestation with a dishonest landlord.

Trending today: #Bedbugs are developing a strong resistance to most common insecticides

February 2, 2016 | by Ryan Biek | Newsy

Bedbugs are reportedly building up a strong resistance to some of the most powerful insecticides due to overuse, which means we might need to turn to non-chemical solutions to get rid of them.

Researchers from Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University tested the most common class of insecticide called neonicotinoids, or neonics, which is often combined with pyrethroids in commercial treatments for bedbugs.

Bedbugs are developing a strong resistance to most common insecticides photo

They took a group of bedbugs that came from homes in Ohio and Michigan, which had previously been exposed to neonics, and compared those bedbugs to a population that has been kept in isolation for 30 years, before the insecticide was used.

A third group of bedbugs that was resistant to pyrethroids but never exposed to neonics was also included in the study.

Depending on the specific types of neonic tested, the Ohio and Michigan bedbugs were hundreds to tens of thousands of times more resistant than the isolated group.

The third group’s results were in the middle: more resistant than the isolated group but less resistant than the Ohio and Michigan bedbugs.

Because that third group had never been exposed to neonics, the researchers believe the bedbugs may have a pre-existing resistance mechanism.

The researchers said more non-chemical methods need to be used to combat bedbug infestations. However, they noted the most resistant bedbugs in the study only came from two areas, and not all of the U.S. may be facing this level of resistance.

Chicago Tops Bedbug List for Fourth Straight Year: Report

  
January 13, 2016 | NBC Chicago

Bedbugs have apparently taken up a long-term residency in Chicago based on a new report from pest control company Orkin.Chicago topped Orkin’s “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities” list for the fourth year in a row. In all, fourteen cities in the Midwest made the list, more than any other region, according to Orkin. The pests were spotted in multiple cities in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky.

The list includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Orkin Entomologist Ron Harrison called bedbugs “the great hitchhikers of the bug world” in a news release issued by the company. “Bed bugs can travel in luggage and other personal belongings to enter your home,” Harrison wrote. “They don’t just hide in beds – they can be found in furniture, bed posts, rugs and even electrical outlets.”

Here is the complete list of the top bedbug cities, according to Orkin:

1. Chicago

2. Los Angeles (+2)

3. Washington, D.C. (+11)

4. New York (+14)

5. Columbus, Ohio (-2)

6. Philadelphia

7. Detroit (-5)

8. Cincinnati (-1)

9. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.

10. Baltimore (+21)

11. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (+6)

12. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-7)

13. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-7)

14. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+2)

15. Indianapolis (-4)

16. Charlotte, N.C. (+14)

17. Houston (-5)

18. Denver (-10)

19. Atlanta (+6)

20. Buffalo, N.Y. (+6)

21. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (+26)

22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1)

23. Phoenix (+9)

24. Knoxville, Tenn. (+10)

25. Boston-Manchester (+4)

26. Milwaukee (-11)

27. Dayton, Ohio (-17)

28. Seattle (-15)

29. Pittsburgh

30. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.

31. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

32. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Crk., Mich. (-12)

33. Lexington, Ky. (-9)

34. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3)

35. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-16)

36. Omaha, Neb. (-15)

37. San Diego (+2)

38. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.

39. Louisville, Ky. (-17)

40. St. Louis (+6)

41. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-6)

42. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (-4)

43. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-10)

44. Kansas City, Mo. (-3)

45. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif. (-18)

46. Syracuse, N.Y. (-18)

47. Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo. (-3)

48. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (-5)

49. Honolulu (-7)

50. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-5)

Woman ‘ravaged’ by bed bugs at luxury hotel four years ago STILL suffers from shocking skin condition

July 7, 2015 | By:  Jess Galley | MirrorOnline

This is the shocking condition a woman has been left in after she was ravaged by bed bugs while on a romantic getaway FOUR YEARS ago.

Jessica Mann still suffers from skin conditions despite the original incident happening in May 2011 on a break with her ex-partner.

The 24-year-old, from Manchester, received a five-figure payout after being bitten so badly on the trip to the Dominican Republic that she was left with peeling, dry and broken skin.

At the time she stayed with then boyfriend Aaron Rigby at the Sirensis Cocotal Hotel, in Punta Cana, but after just a few days the young couple started to break out in painful rashes and blisters.

Jessica suffers from skin condition Pompholyx, which leaves the skin on her hands and feet sensitive, peeling and dry.

But since the ordeal her symptoms have significantly worsened and Jessica – who is an aircraft co-ordinator at Manchester Airport – is still suffering pain and discomfort.

Now specialist illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured payouts for the pair from tour operator Thomas Cook – despite the firm denying liability.

Mercury Press
Attack: Aaron Rigby, Jessica’s then boyfriend, was badly bitten by bed bugs on holiday

Jessica said: “I had never been on a long-haul holiday before and the trip was meant to be a special break for both of us – instead, it was a very frightening experience and I just wanted to go home.

“When you go on holiday you just never expect in a million years to suffer these issues.

“And now I have no choice but to live with my condition which seems to have been made worse by the holiday. It is immensely frustrating.

“It was supposed to be a memorable break but looking back now, I just wish we’d never gone.”

Both Jessica and now-ex Aaron required medical treatment for the rashes and sought advice from the sit doctor at the resort, with Aaron being given medication.

But after returning home Jessica needed a whole month off work to recover from the severe blistering.

They were both then treated at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport for the large, irritable red blisters, which burst, and prescribed painkillers, steroids and creams.

Clare Pearson, from Irwin Mitchell, represents the holidaymakers. She said: “This is a terrible situation in which our clients have developed extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing conditions during what was meant to be a relaxing holiday.

“Sadly such cases are not uncommon and while nothing can be done to reverse the problems Jessica and Aaron have faced.

Mercury Press
Relaxing: Jessica Mann had hoped to have the time of her life at the Sirensis Cocotal Hotel Resort

“We hope that the settlements will go some way towards helping them to take steps to put these issues behind them.

“Their story is an important reminder that everything possible should be done to ensure the safety of holidaymakers always comes first.”

Jessica added: “Nothing can change what has happened but after securing this settlement we just want to put this ordeal behind us and move on.

“It was not just the rash that spoiled the holiday, there were lots of other things wrong with the hotel.

“There were lots of insects in our hotel room and the fridge and lights in our first hotel room were not working properly.

“When Aaron and I complained to both the Thomas Cook Representative and the staff at the hotel they did not seem to take our complaints very seriously and at times it felt like I was spending more time complaining than I was enjoying the holiday.”

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland said: “We were sorry to hear about Ms Mann and Mr Rigby’s experience while on holiday at the Sirenis Cocotal in the Dominican Republic in 2011.”

“Thomas Cook closely audits all the properties to which it operates to ensure that only the highest health and hygiene standards are maintained. We can confirm that the Sirenis Cocotal is no longer featured in our holiday programme.”

“It is never our intention to disappoint our customers. We are happy to say this matter has now been resolved to Ms Mann and Mr Rigby’s satisfaction, and that we have reached an agreement with their legal representatives.”

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