New law says Chicago landlords must exterminate bedbugs

chibb3Prior to the enactment of the new Chicago bed bug ordinance, landlords were really only “obligated” to exterminate bedbugs when there were two or more units infested.  Now, the City leaves no doubt (although we are still awaiting the final published version of the ordinance).  The responsibility falls squarely on the landlord in cases where bedbugs are found or are suspected!  The new provisions are found in Section 7 of the Municipal Code of Chicago (Section 7-28-810 to 900).  And the penalties can be touch.  The City can fine a landlord between $300 to $1000 per day for violations of the ordinance!  Specifically, Section 7-28-830 (based upon the version of the ordinance that we have seen) requires that:

7-28-830 Bed bug infestation-duty to exterminate.
(a) In any rental unit where an infestation of bed bugs is found or suspected, it is the
responsibility of the landlord to:

(1) provide pest control services by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to totally eliminate the bed bug infestation: and
(2) maintain a written record of the pest control measures performed by the pest
management professional on the rental unit and receipts and reports prepared by the pest management professional. The record shall be open to inspection by authorized city personnel, including but not limited to employees of the departments of health and buildings.

(b) In any multiple rental unit building where an infestation of bed bugs is found or
suspected, it responsibility of the landlord to:

(1) provide pest control services by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to totally eliminate the bed bug infestation within the building or portion thereof, including the individual rental units: and
(2) maintain a written record of the pest control measures performed by pest management professional on the building and receipts and reports prepared by the pest management professional. The record shall be open to inspection by authorized city personnel, including but not limited to employees of the departments of health and buildings.

(c) The extermination of bed bugs shall be by:

(1) inspection, and if necessary, the treatment of the two dwelling units on
either side of the affected dwelling unit and the two units directly above and
below the affected dwelling unit This pattern of inspection and treatment
shall be continued until no further infestation is detected: or
(2) any other method approved by the commissioner in rules and
regulations.

So yes, it might be the tenants who brought the bugs in and yes, its going to be expensive to get rid of them, and yes, the requirement to keep paperwork and receipts on extermination activity will be a burden, but that is yet another cost of being a landlord in the City of Chicago.  Having fun yet landlords?

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