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Bedbugs are illegal in New York City

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2022 | Bedbugs

Bedbugs are common insects in New York City and there is a good reason that people are repulsed by them. These small insects can cause infections and diminish living conditions. In New York City, building owners are legally required to eradicate these insects.

What is a bedbug?

In addition to imposing duties upon landlords, New York City gives tenants legal rights regarding bedbugs. Bedbug bites may also be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

A bedbug is a small insect, the size of an apple seed, that has a flat, brown, and oval body. These insects are typically active during the night and grow and reproduce by feeding on blood.

Although bedbug bites may cause infections, these insects do not cause or spread disease. Some people may not react to bites and become aware that bedbugs are in their home or hotel room only when they see the insect.

Hotels and apartments face the risk of bedbugs. Bedbugs enter homes by fastening on to used furniture, luggage and by crawling along connecting pipes and wiring.

These insects are prone to hide inside mattresses, under mattress seems and, in the cracks, and crevices of box springs. Bedbugs are often concealed in furniture cracks, walls, and other areas close to where people sleep or relax. Used furniture must be closely scrutinized to assure it does not contain bedbugs.

Tenant rights

New York City tenant have the right to a bedbug fee environment. Bedbugs are contained in the list of insects that property owners must eradicate under the law.

Bedbugs are legally designated as being hazardous and their infestation is a Class B violation in New York City. Landlords have 30 days to eradicate bedbugs and keep the affected units from being reinfested.

Property owners must give tenants a written bedbug history disclosing any bedbug infestations in the building within the previous year. Tenants may file a complaint with the Department of Health.


Building owners must take steps to prevent bedbug infestation. Precautions include:

  • Hiring a pest management company to treat the structure for bedbugs. It may take several visits and the exterminator should provide a warranty.
  • Giving tenants information on identifying and preventing bedbugs.
  • Encouraging tenants to report bedbugs as soon as they believe they are a problem.
  • Assisting tenants with moving furniture and eliminating clutter.
  • Inspecting units after vacancy.
  • Thoroughly cleaning units after vacancy and assuring there are no pests before reletting.

Victims of bedbug bites in an apartment, rental unit or hotel may be entitled to compensation. Experienced attorneys can help pursue this right by filing a lawsuit.


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