On August 19, 2011, HUD issued guidelines on preventing and controlling bed bugs in HUD-insured and HUD-assisted properties. In addition to identifying best practices regarding integrated pest management (IPM), it also details the rights and responsibilities of HUD, owners/managers and residents with regard to bed bug treatments.
The document leaves many questions unanswered and makes assumptions that may not reflect market realities. NMHC/NAA sent a comment letter and have requested a meeting with HUD to seek clarification of the guidelines.
Among the key provisions:
- Owners/managers may not deny residency to an applicant based on prior exposure to bed bugs.
- Residents cannot be charged for the cost of bed bug treatment; owners must cover those expenses.
- Owners are not required to reimburse residents for any additional expenses related to an infestation, such as purchasing new furniture or clothing or other cleaning services. (This does not prevent them from seeking such reimbursements through the courts or under various state and local statutory authorities, however.)
- Owners are not required to relocate residents unless treatment renders the unit uninhabitable.
- The document provides a timetable under which owners are required, where possible, to inspect (within 3 days) and begin treatment (within 5 days).
- Residents are expected to cooperate with treatment plans, but the document does provide owners with remedies if they do not.
- The document suggests possible funding assistance for owners via replacement reserves and budget line items but says requests for rent increases should be part of an ongoing pest prevention program.