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Category: Bedbugs

Sleeping With The Enemy

December 29th, 2011 — 1:29pm

 A simple way to check if you might be sleeping with bedbugs in the apartment you’re thinking of buying is to check the bedbug registry.

At first, the site is tricky since for some addresses it requires “East” or “West” and for others you need to use “E” or “W” instead. Further, for NYC, you need to go to the City Maps section, click on New York and then insert the address.This is a site where people can post reports of bedbug sightings and what happened. The site also allow for disputes to be posted. As of December 27, 2011, there were 4,490 postings in New York City.

So you have to tool around a bit to find the building you are searching.

However, once you get beyond the oddities of the address searching, the site is quite informative. For example, a recent search revealed that a building had a full blown thermal remediation in April only to find several reports of bedbugs again a month later. The site also provides a terrifying little map which shows bedbug sightings in the neighborhood you are searching. Mercifully, if the building you are searching has no reports, it will advise you that there are no bedbug sightings posted. Continue reading »

Some suggestions for this otherwise great site: (1) Make the maps interactive so you can click on the “Red Button” indicating infestation and get the address: and (2) fix the address searching tools so that you can type in “East” or “E”, etc., and still find the building.

Take heed that this is not the end all solution. I have to believe that many people who have seen bedbugs do not post on the site and there are probably many who post sightings which are inaccurate. However, it is a good double check that can either calm or alarm you.

This site is not only for buyers. My suggestion is for sellers to also check the site to make sure they can address any bedbug problem in the building or which references their apartment before they bring the unit to market. By the same token, management companies and co-op and condo boards should routinely check the registry to make sure they can dispute false postings or their remediation efforts of accurate sightings.

By the way, you can also check hotels on the site.

Next up, movie theaters, coat check rooms?

Comment » | Bedbugs, Bedbugs, News

Bedbugs Crawling Into Co-op and Condo Sales and Rental Transactions

May 6th, 2011 — 5:39pm

A New Law About Bedbugs Creates Confusion. Last summer, then Governor Patterson signed a bill into law requiring landlords to provide new residential tenants in New York City with a one-year bedbug infestation history.

The new section to the Administrative Code of the City of New York (§27-2018.1) requires owners to furnish “to each tenant signing a vacancy lease,” a notice approved by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”), setting forth the bedbug infestation history for the previous year regarding the premises rented by the tenant and the building. Continue reading »

Under the simple reading of the statute, the requirement that a landlord provide the bedbug notice would only be triggered where there is a “tenant signing a vacancy lease.”  The term “vacancy lease” is a term of art with a specific meaning under the rent stabilization law.  By definition, a “vacancy lease” is “[t]he first lease or rental agreement for a housing accommodation that is entered into between an owner and a tenant.” (9 NYCRR § 2520.6)

However, a question has arisen as to whether or not the new law applies to owners of cooperative apartments which operate under a “proprietary” lease where the individual unit owners are technically tenants.  When a co-op is sold, the seller returns his or her stock certificate and proprietary lease to the co-op corporation.  The co-op corporation then either assigns the lease to the purchaser or cancels the lease and issues a new lease to the buyer.   It is unclear if the owner of the co-op is required to present the buyer with the bedbug disclosure notice in the scenario when the co-op corporation is going to enter into a new lease with a purchaser.

The Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”) released a memorandum dated September 20, 2010 which describes the lack of clarity amongst the real estate community concerning this co-op issue and other issues like the applicability of the law to a co-op owner who sublets his/her apartment or a condo owner that who leases his/her apartment.  The memo indicated that REBNY was having “ongoing conversations” with the DHCR about these issues and would keep its members apprised of any further developments.

A month later, an industry publication called Habitat published an article detailing the current status of this issue.  According to Habitat, the bill was initially introduced by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal to address residents’ concerns over the increased presence of bedbugs in New York City.  The article said that Rosenthal herself did not intend for the law to apply to co-ops and condos.  However, in an informal communication, the DHCR announced that the new law did, in fact, apply to the sale and rental of co-ops and to the rental of condos (but not to the sale of condos).

If the new law is to apply to co-ops and condos, unit owners will need further clarification on how exactly they are supposed to make representations concerning the bed bug history for the entire buildings in which their units are located.  Furthermore, a cursory review of the “Notice of Bedbug Infestation” reveals that the form, as drafted, is entirely inappropriate for individual unit owners and requires extensive revisions before being distributed to potential purchasers.

Many real estate professionals are conflicted as to how to advise owners on this issue.  Some, believing that the law, based on the strict reading of the statute, does not apply to co-ops and condos, will stick with that position until the law is clarified.  The more prudent position may be to attempt to comply with the law and provide potential purchasers or renters with a one-year bedbug infestation history so as to avoid any post-closing claims from purchasers in the event there was a bed bug issue in the unit that went undisclosed.

By Nahum M. Palefski, Esq.

Comment » | Bedbugs

Bedbugs Anyone?

January 13th, 2011 — 11:35am

Whose bedbugs are they?

Bedbugs have got everyone itching and they are increasingly being addressed in contracts to buy apartments.  Continue reading »

These days many buyer’s contract riders have a bed bug clause. The usual clause simply says that the seller has not reported any bed bugs or that the seller doesn’t have any bedbugs.  On the surface that sounds fine but some sellers don’t want to blow or delay a deal if bedbugs are discovered after the contract is signed nor do they want to have a post closing fight about bedbugs.  This seems reasonable for the seller but somehow feels inherently unfair to a buyer who wants to know that the seller didn’t leave any crawling surprises.  So, if the buyer is successful in getting the seller to agree that there will be no bedbugs up to the closing, most would think the problem is solved.  Well, I think not.  Let’s just for the fun of it follow this possible scenario: (1) the seller agrees that there won’t be bedbugs up to the date of closing; (2) the seller finds some bedbugs before the closing but doesn’t tell anyone (or the seller gets them but doesn’t realize it); and (3) the buyer doesn’t see any bedbugs when the “day of closing inspection” occurs.  Once the buyer moves in and finds the little critters the first call will be to the buyer’s lawyer for help who will then call the seller’s lawyer.  I can guess that the seller’s lawyer will say “Well tell me, whose bedbugs are they?  Did they come from the movers, the building move in elevator, or the buyers own house or apartment? Or did the buyer get them at some restaurant after the Closing?” and promptly hang up.  Since I don’t know of a bed bug expert who can identify the prior home of the bedbugs, the buyer has, shall we say, a steep uphill and possibly losing battle.  There is however, a possible solution that might MINIMIZE the risk of such an event.  That is for the buyer to conduct a pre-closing bed bug inspection.  In that way, the buyer can be reasonably assured that any bedbugs which are found crawling around after the closing were not the remains of the seller and the seller can be relieved of any post closing aggravation and not lose a deal.

Comment » | Bedbugs, News, To Inspect or Not

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