Aldermen propose bed bug crackdown

January 29, 2013

Three Chicago aldermen are trying to crack down on bed bugs in the city by proposing to fine landlords who don't get rid of the pests.

The city got some tough press this month: Pest control company Orkin bestowed the title of number one bed bug city in the county on Chicago for 2012. 

Alderman Ray Suarez (31), Harry Osterman (48) and Debra Silverstein (50) are behind the measure, which calls bed bugs a "public nuisance." They say it's the responsibility of the landlord, co-op or condominium board to get rid of the pests once they're spotted. 

Under the ordinance, a landlord would have to bring in pest control services as many times as it takes to get the bugs out of the unit. Meanwhile condo or co-op boards would only have to prepare a "pest management plan" in the event that the bugs show up in their units. According to the ordinance, the tenant's only responsibility would be to report the landlord of any known infestation, and cooperate with any treatment that follows. 

The ordinance also sets guidelines on how to properly throw away infested mattresses, clothing or other materials. Everything would have to be totally enclosed in a plastic bag and labeled as being infested with bed bugs. 

If landlords don't comply, the aldermen are proposing fines from $300 to $1000 for each offense. 

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