Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pennsylvania bedbug legislation; Senator Farnese; DDT

Bedbugs have become a more common problem in recent years, as these insects have spread mainly among hotels in urban areas throughout the Northeast.

They resist traditional insect treatments. The known insecticides that kill bedbugs were banned years ago by the federal government.

In 2010, Senator Farnese (D - Phila.) introduced legislation that would have imposed tremendous costs upon landlords in an effort to combat bedbugs. In particular the bill would have required landlords to provide for inspection every time a new tenant leased a unit or every time a lease was renewed. This bill expired with the end of the legislative session in 2010, but Senator Farnese expects to reintroduce it under a new bill number soon. He is now seeking co-sponsors.

On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, representatives of PROA met with Senator Farnese' staff in Harrisburg. We stressed the prohibitive costs that this bill would create for landlords and we presented various alternatives, including expedited eviction for tenants known to have caused a bedbug problem in the unit.

We also discussed the availability of pesticides. According to the New York Times:
Bedbugs, once nearly eradicated, have spread across New York City, in part because of the decline in the use of DDT.

While it was the federal government that banned certain pesticides (thus precluding a real solution by state legislators), state legislators can help address the problem. Senator Farnese's staff indicated that the Senator will conduct hearings in this matter. We asked that the Senator's committee seek testimony on pesticide bans and pesticide solutions. A growing public awareness of the pesticide aspect of this story could influence the federal government.

Meanwhile, real estate owners should contact their federal congressmen in an effort to push for repeal of DDT bans.

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