Housing Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5335

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LANDLORDS AND TENANTS REGARDING THE TREATMENT OF BED BUG INFESTATIONS.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/23/2016

File No.:

228

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Housing Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Bed bug infestations are a persistent problem in dwellings throughout Connecticut. Not only are bed bugs hard to kill, they can migrate to other housing units without notice. Consequently, the blame for bed bug infestations cannot be easily determined between landlords and tenants. This bill seeks to establish a framework to identify and treat bed bug infestations in residential and public housing. It outlines the duties and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants regarding notice, inspection, and treatment of an infestation.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Judith DiCine, State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice; supports the bill which adds additional obligations and definitions to existing law on bed bug infestations, allowing for a safe and prompt elimination of problem. The law provides the framework for both landlords and tenants to be treated fairly in response to a bedbug infestation.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Raphael Podolsky, Attorney, Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut; supports the bill however has concerns with the cost low-income tenants may incur and with a landlords' right to self-treat their property.

Kirstin Power, Vice President, Consumer Specialty Products Association; supports the bill because it allows consumer products to be used as a treatment method, which is a less expensive method for remediating a beg bug infestation.

James Heckman, Attorney, Connecticut Realtors; supports the bills because it “attempts to control a problem before it reaches extreme labels as well as develop remedies when a problem is discovered that includes the tenant and the landlord working cooperatively to solve the issue.”

Dr. Gale Ridge, Chairperson, Connecticut Coalition Against Bed Bugs; supports the bill because it give a series of directions on how landlords and tenants should proceed when faces with an infestation.

The following individuals support the concept of the bill and offered suggestions they believe will improve the legislation.

Robert Chesson, Member, Connecticut Apartment Association

Bob DeCosmo, President, Connecticut Property Owners Alliance

John Rumberger, Vice President, Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Kathleen Flaherty, Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Rights Project; opposed the bill as drafted. She believes the bill as written violates state and federal anti-discrimination statues for people with disabilities.

John Souza, President, Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners; opposes the bill as drafted. Landlords accept the responsibilities that require them to treat and identify any kind of infestation. It should be the landlord's decision whether to hire a contractor or do the inspection themselves.

Leonard Campbell, President, Northwest Connecticut Property Owners Association; opposes the bill because it does not address the concerns of the organization.

Reported by: Laurene Boulton

Date: 03/31/2016