City will be calling upon condominium associations to inspect their bed bug management plans. What condo owners need to know.
Not only is Chicago the dog-friendliest city in America, it’s also number one for bed bugs.
As of Monday, in accordance with Chicago’s bed bug ordinance,condominium and co–op boards were required to assemble bed bug management plans for preventing, monitoring and exterminating the biting little beasts.
Bed bugs are flat, wingless insects that feed on blood from humans and animals. They resemble the dried red pepper flakes that you shake on to your Chicago-style pizza. While they are not known to transmit diseases, their bites can cause an allergic reaction. Just knowing there are bed bugs in your unit or apartment can also drive you crazy.
Bed bugs hide in mattresses and can pretty much be found wherever there is a bed — homes, dormitories, hotels, shelters, apartment buildings, condos, etc. Dirty living conditions do not attract bed bugs.
Infestations occur when bed bugs ride into units or apartments on mattresses, bedding and furniture, according to the City of Chicago’s bed bug fact sheet, that you should have received from your condominium association by now.
That practically new sofa you see in the alley? Don’t bring it into your home because it may have bed bugs, which also like to hide and multiply in the seams and zippers of furniture. The ordinance also prohibits bed bug infested furniture from being pitched in the alley, dumpster or curbside, unless it is enclosed in plastic with a sign attached indicating that its infested.
There are a whole slew of requirements for landlords and tenants of apartment buildings, college dorms and hotels. Condo associations, however, must make their bed bug management plans available for review by building inspectors.
Other requirements for governing associations of condominiums and co-op buildings include:
- Distributing a bed bug fact sheet to every unit owner including prevention, monitoring and exterminating tips.
- Condo associations, as well as other landlords, commercial businesses and institutions that provide sleeping accommodations are required to hire professional exterminators for ridding bed bugs once reported.
- It is the condo unit owner’s responsibility to report bed bugs once they are detected, and the condo association’s responsibility to get rid of them.
- Condo unit owners are required to cooperate with the governing associations of their buildings. This can include allowing board members into your home to confirm the presence of bed bugs, or a professional exterminator to conduct an inspection.
- Prior to bed bug treatment, your condo association should inform you of the proposed treatment plan and what you need to do to prepare.
- Disposing of infested mattresses, furniture, linens, clothing, etc., is not always required. The city provides a variety of educational materials explaining what individuals can do in the post-treatment phase.
- If you choose to rent or sublease your unit, , you and your tenant are requirement to comply with a number of other requirements specific to landlords and tenants.
- Condo unit owners that do not comply with the ordinance may be subject to fines up to $2,000 for each offense.
For more information on the city’s plan to wipe out bed bugs, and requirements for landlords, condo and cooperative boards, condo owners and tenants, visit the Chicago Department of Public Health website. We advise that not eating while reading the information.