Raised Bill No. 190
February Session, 2012
LCO No. 1023
Referred to Committee on Housing
AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LANDLORDS AND TENANTS REGARDING BED BUG INFESTATION.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) (a) As used in this section: (1) "Certified applicator" means an individual who is certified in accordance with section 22a-54 of the general statutes by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to perform application within this state of a pesticide or class of pesticides; (2) "bed bug" means the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius); (3) "reasonable measures" means those methods commonly used and accepted as being effective for eliminating or controlling bed bug infestations; and (4) "landlord", "owner", "person" and "tenant" shall have the same meanings as in section 47a-1 of the general statutes.
(b) No landlord shall offer for rent a dwelling unit that the landlord knows or reasonably suspects is infested with bed bugs. Before renting a dwelling unit, a landlord shall disclose to a prospective tenant, fully and accurately, whether the unit the landlord is offering for rent or any adjacent unit is currently infested with bed bugs or has been treated for such infestation in the twelve months preceding the disclosure. Upon request from a tenant or prospective tenant, a landlord shall disclose the last date on which the dwelling unit being rented or offered for rent was inspected for a bed bug infestation and the results of such inspection.
(c) Upon request by a landlord, any prospective tenant shall disclose in writing whether such prospective tenant is vacating a dwelling unit that is infested with bed bugs. Before a prospective tenant takes occupancy of a dwelling unit offered for rent by a landlord, the landlord may require any prospective tenant who is vacating a dwelling unit that is infested with bed bugs to take reasonable measures to prevent the bed bugs from being transferred to the dwelling unit being offered for rent, including, but not limited to, requiring the prospective tenant to (1) wash and dry at high heat clothing and other possessions for which such treatment is appropriate, and (2) present proof of treatment by a certified applicator of all furnishings, bedding and other items that may not be laundered.
(d) (1) A tenant shall promptly notify a landlord when the tenant knows or reasonably suspects that the tenant's dwelling unit is infested with bed bugs. A landlord shall conduct an inspection of a dwelling unit not later than five days after receiving such notice and may enter a dwelling unit in accordance with section 47a-16 of the general statutes for the purpose of conducting such inspection. Such inspection may only include a visual and manual examination of the tenant's bedding and upholstered furniture. If the landlord determines that the dwelling unit is infested with bed bugs, the landlord shall, not later than ten days after the date of the landlord's inspection, employ a certified applicator who carries current liability insurance to conduct a second inspection. Such certified applicator may, upon reasonable notice to the tenant, enter the tenant's dwelling and inspect the tenant's personal belongings to the extent necessary to determine the extent of the infestation and the method by which to control such infestation.
(2) A tenant shall undertake, at the tenant's expense, all reasonable measures to eliminate and control a bed bug infestation that are requested by the certified applicator employed by the landlord. If, in the opinion of a certified applicator or a housing code enforcement official, a method used to control or eliminate the bed bug infestation renders a dwelling unit temporarily unsafe for habitation, the tenant shall vacate the dwelling unit for the length of time prescribed by such certified applicator or official. The landlord shall abate the tenant's rent accordingly but shall not be liable to the tenant for damages.
(3) A landlord shall undertake, at the landlord's expense, all reasonable measures to identify, eliminate and control a bed bug infestation that are requested by the certified applicator employed by the landlord. A landlord may, at the landlord's discretion, offer financial assistance to a tenant who is not otherwise able to afford to undertake the reasonable measures required under subdivision (2) of this subsection. If the tenant agrees to receive such assistance, then the landlord may charge the tenant the cost of the reasonable measures on a repayment schedule not to exceed six months, except that the landlord and tenant may agree to a longer repayment term.
(e) (1) The failure of a landlord to comply with the provisions of this section shall constitute a violation of subdivisions (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of section 47a-7 of the general statutes for which the landlord shall be liable for damages pursuant to section 47a-12 of the general statutes.
(2) A landlord may apply to the Superior Court to obtain injunctive relief to compel any tenant who (A) refuses to provide reasonable access to a dwelling unit, (B) fails to comply with reasonable requests for inspection or treatment of a dwelling unit, or (C) fails to implement reasonable measures requested by a certified applicator. The landlord may recover actual damages, including any costs incurred as a result of the tenant's failure to provide reasonable access to a dwelling unit or implement reasonable measures, and reasonable attorney's fees. Any order granting a landlord access to a dwelling unit must be served upon the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the landlord or a certified applicator employed by the landlord enters the dwelling unit.
(f) The remedies in this section shall be in addition to any other remedies available at law, or in equity, to any person. This section shall not be construed to limit or restrict the authority of any state or local housing code enforcement agency.
This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
October 1, 2012
Statement of Purpose:
To establish landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities regarding bed bug infestations in rental housing.
[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]