Most condo associations keep a vigilant watch for bed bugs in their buildings, but a new Chicago ordinance looks to ensure that no pests fall through the cracks. To combat a wave of bed bug terror, the city of Chicago recently passed a law forcing condos to promptly resolve bed bug infestations, or face a $1,000 daily fine. The ordinance, which boldly labels bed bugs a “public nuisance,” also requires each condo association to draft a plan of attack for potential insect invasions.
New Bed Bug Regulations for Condo Associations
In order to comply with the new rules, nestled in Section 7-28-840 of the Chicago Municipal Code, condo associations must:
· Prepare a pest treatment plan. Every condo must draft a plan for the “detection, inspection, and treatment” of bed bugs by September 5, 2013. While this sounds awfully vague, the city health department has promised to post a sample plan on its website soon.
· Publish the plan of attack. After creating a comprehensive pest control plan, each building must also post its strategy on the city health department’s website.
· Report any bed bug incidents. If a single creepy crawler appears in the building, condos must immediately report the problem to the department of health.
· Treat the infestation. If a bed bug enters the premises, condos have a duty to hire a licensed pest control service to “totally eliminate” the problem, even if this requires multiple treatments. The most surprising requirement is the pest treatment plan, which must incorporate the “best practices” currently used in the war against bed bugs. And condo associations face a potential fine if they fail to create a suitable pest control strategy.
Condos Must Report and Record Every Bed Bug Incident
Alas, the duties don’t stop after treatment. After each bed bug incident, condo associations must also keep a written record of the treatment. These reports must remain accessible for city health inspectors to review. And if any resident of a condo reports a bed bug problem, city officials reserve the right to inspect the interior and exterior of the entire building to check for signs of the hungry critters. The ordinance certainly creates a new burden for condo associations, but if the rules help thwart the bed bug epidemic, residents will be able to sleep more soundly at night.
Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance Places Extra Burden on Landlords
Bed bugs, as far as we know, aren’t interested in politics, but they certainly created a stir this spring in the stately halls of Chicago’s City Council. After months of negotiations, the council has passed an ordinance labeling bed bugs a “public nuisance,” which spells doom for the nightmarish critters, but could also take a bite out of landlords’ wallets.
Under the new rules, Chicago landlords who fail to promptly treat and report bed bug infestations face a $1,000 fine for every day of noncompliance.
Landlords Must Treat and Report Every Bed Bug Incident
The ordinance creates several new responsibilities for local building owners. Under Section 4-4-332 of the Chicago Municipal Code, landlords must now:
· Completely eliminate the pests. Upon notification of a bed bug issue, landlords must immediately hire a licensed pest control service to “totally eliminate” the bugs, even if this requires multiple treatments.
· Report all treatment. Landlords must keep a written report of all bed bug troubles, and store receipts for every pest treatment. These records may be viewed at any time by city health officials.
· Check neighboring units. Building owners also have a duty to inspect all units next to the infested location to make sure the bugs haven’t made travel plans. The most important language of the ordinance is the new duty to “totally eliminate” any bed bug problem. This means landlords cannot rest until every last critter is killed.
Tenants Also Have a Duty to Cooperate and Report
While landlords certainly hold more responsibility than tenants, the new ordinance also enlists tenants in the fight against the tiny merchants of sleeplessness.
The rules require tenants to notify landlords of the presence of bed bugs, cooperate with treatment efforts, and dispose of personal property that has not been treated by a pest control service.
But the primary burden clearly rests on landlords, who must eliminate bed bug colonies as fast as possible or face thousands of dollars in fines.