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New NY Bed Bug Legislation Described as ‘Overkill’

New York's City Council recently passed a new law regarding bed bug infestation. But some say the legislation goes too far, and will only create new hassles for landlords who already face a slew of regulations in order to stay in business. This new bed bug bill, which was passed by the City Council 44-5 and signed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in May, requires landlords to file bed bug history information to the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development for them to include on their website. According to the legislation, the building owners will also have to post bed bug history in "a prominent place" in the apartment buildings, as well as share with both new tenants, and those tenants renewing their lease. City Councilman Danny Dromm sponsored the measure and had 13 other co-sponsors to the bill. He told the New York Daily News, "I have heard from many constituents about the enormous disruption caused by these little unwelcome visitors," and then went on to say that "the best weapon we have against bedbugs is knowledge". Dromm said to the newspaper that he wants "to assure landlords that there is no need to bug out." The city councilman also added, "Bedbugs after all do not distinguish between new and lifelong residents --- they're just out looking for some blood".

Opponents of the bill think it will 'needlessly alarm tenants'

But critics of the bill think it just creates additional work and expenses to those already addressing the scourge of bed bugs, and that there is already sufficient legislation in the books to help protect tenants. The opponents of the legislation also point out that it also does not address responsibilities tenants should have when it comes to them potentially bringing bed bugs into a new apartment. Landlords may do everything right when it comes to keeping bed bugs out of their apartments, but if a tenant comes in and brings bed bugs along with their possessions, it is the landlord who will have to pay the price. It may also scare other tenants for no reason. And it might keep people from renting an apartment, even though there is nothing for them to worry about. "This bill will needlessly alarm tenants that would otherwise not have to be concerned or be worried about an infestation in their building," Joseph Strasburg, head of New York City's Rent Stabilization Association, told the New York Post. It's just another example of "more regulation overkill." He noted that current New York State laws already require landlords to inform tenants if an apartment had previously been infested with bed bugs. The new legislation will soon be in effect for city landlords and the reports will be posted on the city website.

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