The City of Philadelphia has recently changed their rules regarding bed bugs in rental housing in the city. What does this mean to tenants, landlords, property management companies, and property owners? The new requirements call for a few preventative steps, better communication, and prompt treatment of infestations.
What are Bed Bugs?
Before I get into the new laws in Philadelphia, let’s talk a little about bed bugs themselves. Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on animal blood, including human blood. Their bites can lead to itchy rashes that can be very uncomfortable. Bites from bed bugs do not often cause serious medical conditions, though they can result in a loss of sleep and extreme itchiness. Secondary infections can occur because of the open wound left at the site of the bites. The main problem with bed bugs is that they quickly turn into an infestation if left untreated.
Bed bugs usually live in bedrooms since they generally bite when their victims are sleeping. They often hide in the seams of mattresses, on headboards, behind wallpaper, under box springs, or in clutter near the sleeping area.
Signs of Infestation
Most people realize they have a bedbug problem when they wake up with mysterious bites on their faces, necks, hands, and arms. Some people spot the live bugs or bug exoskeletons when they are changing sheets or notice blood spots on the sheets or mattress. Bed bugs also give off a sweet, musty odor.
New Rules in the City of Philadelphia
Starting on January 1, 2021, landlords in the City of Philadelphia must develop a Bed Bug Control Plan and provide it to potential tenants before they sign a new lease. The Bed Bug Control Plan provides information for the tenant about how to prevent infestations and the landlord responsibilities if an infestation does occur. The landlord is also responsible for notifying a potential tenant if there has been any bed bug remediation in the prospective rental until within the last 120 days.
Philadelphia’s new bed bug control law mandates that landlords must respond to any tenant complaints about bed bugs within 5 days of receipt and have pest control professionals assess the rental until within 10 days. If the rental unit is in a building with four or more other rental units, then the units immediately above, below, and adjacent to the infested unit must also be assessed for the presence of bed bugs.
Bed bug remediation must continue until all signs of bed bugs are gone. Pest control professionals must also monitor the rental units for an additional 12 days to ensure that reinfestation has not occurred.
Tenants must notify their landlords within 5 business days of suspecting a bed bug problem. They must also cooperate with the pest control professional’s advice regarding the infestation.
Importance of Trusting Your Property Management Company
Issues like bedbug infestations remind us all of the importance of working with a trustworthy property management company. Whether you are a tenant or a property owner, a credible property management company like Trustart Realty can be trusted to efficiently and effectively take care of any problems that come up. Trustart Realty has both the tenants’ and the property owners’ best interests at the heart of their business. Contact us for more information.