We are already aware that bed bugs are a problem in the hospitality industry and in the homes of thousands of Americans. However, one of the greatest concerns is in senior housing complexes, where the bed bugs’ victims are more vulnerable than the average citizen. Often times, the elderly are unable to spot the infestations because they can’t see well enough, and, they lack the knowledge of how to spot bed bugs. Additionally, senior residents are afraid to report the incident because they assume that they will be financially responsible for the exterminator bills.
Sadly, by the time an elderly citizen comes to the realization that there are bed bugs, the infestation has spread significantly. And, the physical signs and symptoms that appear on their body have been ignored for a long period of time. Now, policy makers are taking action to protect their senior citizens and the general population. According to the National Pest Management Association, one out of five Americans has been exposed to bed bugs.
Many states are adopting bed bug legislation laws to prevent further infestations not only in senior housing, but in schools, homes and apartments. Some laws even extend into the furniture re-selling industry.
In 2010, New York Governor David Patterson signed a bill that requires NYC schools to notify parents of bed bug reports. Landlords are also required to disclose any bed bug infestations to prospective tenants. Shortly after Patterson’s new bill went into effect, New York’s Housing Division adopted a disclosure form.
In Hawaii, realtors are required to disclose any info. on bed bug issues by answering the following question: Has there been any sign of, or are you aware of any pest problems (e.g. roaches, fleas, bed bugs, mites, ticks, ants, rats, etc.)?
Kansas has a strict law for their hotels and motels to adhere to. If a guest puts in a complaint, the hotel must report it to the Dept. of Agriculture within one business day. Interestingly enough, Kansas had also previously prohibited their housing inspectors to go into the units that were infested because they were afraid of the inspector carrying the bed bugs into other locations.
Connecticut has made headway in the past few weeks to create a bed bug legislation that would include mattress re-sellers to show proof that their bedding is free of bed bugs. The same rule would apply to furniture rental companies.
South Carolina has a bed bug prevention and sanitation act.
Congress passed the “Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009”, as well as the “Bed Bug Prevention and Mitigation Pilot Program.”
And, finally in Massachusetts, the bed bug laws are still lenient. Under the current law, the regulations are vague and simply state that landlords are required to “maintain the dwelling you own without insect infestation. Landlords must inspect each unit and take action to remedy and bed bug infestations.”