By Jasaun Boone
The influx of bed bugs within the City of New York is not a new problem that local government and elected officials have attempted to address. According to some estimates, in 2009, alone, the city received approximately 11,000 bed bug complaints.
The growing bed bug epidemic has spurred New York local and state elected officials to act, with the hopes of easing public uneasiness. Earlier today, New York Governor David Paterson signed into state law legislation that requires city landlords to disclose to tenants if their apartments have been reportedly infested at any time. The law aims to bolster transparency so prospective tenants will have necessary information relative to bed bug infestation before signing a lease agreement.
Additionally, New York lawmakers are weighing their support of legislation requiring insurance companies to provide homeowners and renters bed bug insurance. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, would make insurance companies cover all extermination expenses and costs associated with the replacement of untreatable items.
The City of New York’s Department of Housing has gone as far as to consider purchasing bed bug-sniffing canines, despite mixed reports in terms of the effectiveness of such dogs. The city also recently appropriated $500,000 in funding to help curb the increase in complaints due to the critters.
Despite the efforts of the local and state government officials, many residents of New York do not believe the city’s response has been up to par. According to a poll recently conducted by New York Daily News, 46% of residents feel the city has not done enough to fight bed bug infestation. Of the respondents, 1 out of 10 indicated they had a bed bug presence within their residences at some point.
Assuming that many people are not pleased with government’s bed bug response, what more should they be doing? What expanded role can they play in an effort to eliminate the problem?