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Home » Bed Bugs, Healthy Homes, More headlines

Chicago Council passes Bed Bug Ordinance

last updated on July 16, 2013 – 9:44 AM6 comments

The City of Chicago has recently been named the nation’s #1 city infested with bed bugs.  Everyday MTO’s tenants’ rights hotline receives calls from renters throughout the City and suburbs dealing with the pesky pests.  Bed bugs are not unique to Chicago.  They are undoubtedly a nuisance and hard to control.  Controlling bed bugs requires tenants and landlords working together.

On June 5, 2013, the City Council passed an ordinance aimed at putting an end to the spread of bed bugs.  This ordinance will go into effect December 23, 2013.  There are key components of the ordinance that all renters should know.  Let’s start with landlord responsibilities:

  • To supply a tenant starting or renewing a lease with an informational brochure
  • To maintain a written record of bed bug control efforts
  • To send a written notice to the tenant explaining their responsibilities before the inspection
  • To provide pest control services when bed bugs are found by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to eliminate the problem
  • To inspect within 10 days and treat if necessary the two units on either side as well as the two units above and below of the infested unit

The ordinance also outlines what tenants’ responsibilities are to help eliminate bed bugs.  Please note that this section of the ordinance does not apply to tenants living in assisted living or a shared housing establishment, when the establishment provides assistance with daily living activities.  According to the ordinance, tenant responsibilities include:

  • To notify the landlord in writing of any suspected or known infestation in the tenants’ unit, clothing, furniture or personal property within 5 days
  • To notify the landlord in writing of any recurring or unexplained bites, stings or sores suspected to be caused by bed bugs
  • To cooperate with the landlord in the control, treatment, and eradication of bed bugs including
  • To grant access at reasonable times upon reasonable notice for inspections and treatments/to not interfere
  • To prepare unit prior to treatment including:  cleaning, dusting, vacuuming
  • To properly dispose of personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned before the pest control services

The Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance also mandates the disposal of bedding, clothing, furnishings or other infested materials.  For example, you may not place, discard or dispose of any bedding, clothing or furnishings infested on the public way (i.e. dumpsters, sidewalks, hallways).  To get rid of infested items, you must enclose the item in a plastic bag and label it as infested.  Doing so should prevent neighbors from bringing to their home infested items, therefore stalling the spread of bed bugs.

The ordinance will be enforced by the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Health.  If any person is found violating the ordinance, that person may be fined $300.00 to $1,000 per day for each offense.  By complying with the ordinance, these fees can be avoided.   The full ordinance can be found at www.cityofchicago.org.  You can make a request for a City inspector here.

For more information on tenants’ rights, please call MTO’s hotline at 773-292-4988/Monday-Friday 1-5 pm or visit www.tenants-rights.org/bed-bugs-faq. You can read the full ordinance here.

6 Comments »

  • Dustin says:

    My partner and I have been living in our apartment for a little over a year and are dealing with bedbugs for the 3rd time. They treated our place each time and each time we have had to pack things up and go to the laundromat to wash our clothes and have to board our pets for a couple hours while they spray. Each time it seems to be costing more and more. Can I hold my landlord or the condo association responsible for this next round of costs?

    • The Chicago law regarding bed bugs requires that the the landlord inspect all units in anyway adjacent to your unit. It does not sound like that is happening and then when the landlord sprays the bugs just move to an adjoining unit and then return. Is the landlord hiring and a professional. The other problem is that the pest controllers may not be doing the job correctly. Often times it takes several sprayings to completely kill the pests. Have you written the landlord a letter demanding that the landlord follow the Chicago Ordinance. There may be some problems in condos as your landlord does not have access to all the units. You may want to call the City 311 and report the problem.

  • Liz Bain says:

    My daughter has bed bugs she did notified the landlord who told her she has to pay for the treatment, my four year old grand-daughter is being bitten, they are on section8 I told her to call and report the landlord to section-8 it has been over 3 months and nothing is being done, please help

    • Chicago passed a bed bug ordinance that states the tenant is to report the bed bugs and the landlord must arrange for the eradication of the bed bugs. If the landlord can show that the renter is the cause of the problem which may be difficult then the landlord may be able to bill the tenant. For instance, if the tenant brought furniture in from the alley and that was the cause of the infestation then the tenant could be held liable. you can also encourage your daughter to call 311 and get a city inspector out. The City can cite the landlord for failing to follow its ordinances. I would make sure that your daughter has put the notice in writing so that it can be documented. Phone calls are very difficult to prove.

  • Pamela Moore says:

    While visiting Chicago 4th of July weekend, we did have contact with 2- bedbugs: one in our hotel room (310) the first night, and one next door in our second room (308) the morning we were leaving. Perhaps they flew in the “opened, no screened window.”

    I asked for email 310 to be cleaned again and sprayed and the bed area vacuumed. I don’t believe the vacuuming was done because nothing appeared to have been moved, and there were still small pieces of paper on the floor. Because the room was to be sprayed, we chose not to move to another room.

    We trapped the bedbug in a bottle on both occasions and handed them over to the front desk clerks. We received a $100 discount.

    Second, we found the refrigerator wasn’t cold enough. No one came, at my request, to fix the problem. I did locate the control in the rear, and changed the temp from a “1″. It was too late to save our food.

    Third, the toilet kept running. After maintenance “repaired” it, we continued to hear the tank adding water!

    • Hotels are exempted from the Landlord and Tenants Ordinance. You might contact Attorney hall Adams who is very knowledgeable about bed bugs. Hall Adams (bed bugs, must demonstrate via paper trail that the bed bug issue has occurred)……………….. 312-445-4900

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