Landlord Bedbug Protocol In NYC

As landlords, it is one of the phone calls you will dread. Its 2AM and your phone rings. The Caller ID reads that its the tenant in apartment 2C. You let it go to voicemail and fall back asleep. You wake up in the morning to 3 text messages, one picture text message and voice message which are all related to bed bugs. If your not sure what to do next, read on. In todays blog we will give you our professional advice on what your next steps should be. On a daily basis we see landlords take the wrong steps when dealing with a bed bug problem. They turn a $1000.00 headache and turn it into a problem that can cost them greatly. We have seen landlords neglect buildings to the point that the occupants move our and are unable to rent out the apartments. The cheap always turns out being expensive so follow these tips and approach the situation professionally.

  1. Hiring the right professional. Do your research and hire the right bed bug exterminator. Check out online reviews and licensing. Ask about guarantee periods, references, # of visits and what type of treatment they do. Make sure to ask for the product names and do your research. You have no excuse to not do your own homework on this. You can go to blog sites like or even social media sites to ask pest control professionals any bed bug related questions.
  2. Inform the other tenants. Lets face it, you don’t want to yell fire in a crowded movie theater but this is key in bed bug elimination. Believe it or not many tenants are embarrassed or shy to alert others of a bed bug problem they may be having. Instead they hire their own pest professionals or even worse the tenants treat the problem them selves. After these tenants treat unsuccessfully or misapply products it could be causing the bed bugs to run out of fear. When you alert these tenants of the bed bugs you will also be informing them that the professional you are hiring will be doing an inspection in their place. Do not accept “We haven’t seen bed bugs, we’re okay. We don’t need an inspection.” Explain that this inspection is mandatory and make sure the inspector gets in.
  3. Make sure the prep work is done. After the bed bug inspection the tenants should receive a preparation list from the bed bug inspector. The day before the pest control team comes to perform the treatment, be sure to reach out to the tenant. See if they need any help or direction with the prep work. Bed bug prep work can sometimes be long, tiring work so be there to help. Its in every ones best interest that the prep work is done perfectly. Lazy prep work could mean more visits from an exterminator which means more $.
  4.  Ask the bed bug technicians for all documents. Make sure to get all documentation pertaining to the treatments. Be sure to get product labels, guarantee information, contact information and proper documentation of when the next treatment/inspection should be. Some companies make you call them to schedule so make sure to pay close attention so this doesn’t fall through the cracks. Ask the exterminator what should be done by the tenants post treatment, if there is any more instructions.
  5. After the final treatment. Some companies will offer a final inspection a couple of weeks after the final treatment. If the company you hired does not offer this, pay extra. Some tenants may not react to bites causing a delay in re-identifying this problem immediately. The final inspection will pay for itself, see it as an insurance policy.
  6. Hold a meeting with the tenants. After the problem is gone for good, hold a meeting with the tenants. Inform them that the problem has been eliminated from the building. Let them know that great communication and an open door policy is key to future bed bug elimination. Print out a few identification sheets  and hand them out to the tenants so they are able to identify future bed bugs if they see them. Give everybody a round of applause and thank them for being so helpful. Happy tenants are a happy building is a happy landlord.
Here is what you DO NOT want to do when your informed of a bed bug problem
  • Don’t tell tenants that they are responsible to pay.
  • Don’t tell tenants that in the 50 years that you’ve owned the building you’ve never had a problem until they moved in.
  • Don’t curse at the tenants.
  • Don’t hire just any exterminator that claims to be a bed bug pro.
  • Don’t send the handyman into the apartment with a jug of store bought bed bug spray
If your unsure of anything bed bug related and you need advice, send us an email at [email protected]. We deal with many building related infestation and promise to give you the best advice no matter your location. Although our work in limited to New York City our advise can stretch to any part of the world. Good luck!

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