Bedbug Lawsuits Swarm Landlords

Bedbugs spread a lot of things -- fear, disgust and now, lawsuits. The Real Deal reports on a spate of cases being brought against landlords in New York, the city with the worst bedbug problem in the country. But the Big Apple isn't the only place that the bloodsuckers find tasty. According to statistics from the National Pest Management Association, bedbug complaints nationwide are up 81 percent since 2000, with most of those calls coming from apartments and condos. If New York's bedbug strategy spreads to the rest of the country, eliminating the pests will become a two-step process: first, call the exterminator; then, call your lawyer.

As bedbugs continue to pop up at locations in the city -- most recently at the Manhattan district attorney's offices, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and at a Brooklyn public school -- tenants are increasingly looking to the legal system for help.

Michael Kozek, an attorney with tenant representation firm Jeffrey S. Ween & Associates, said that dozens of New York City rental and co-op residents have hired him over the last six months to fight their landlords. Most cases have been resolved before reaching the point of a lawsuit.

A number of cases have made it to the Housing Part of the Civil Court of the City of New York as well, where tenants sue the city for failing to enforce the law, and go after their landlords for failing to comply with it.

Read the rest of the story at The Real Deal.

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