D.C. Law 24-238. Bedbug Control Act of 2022.
To require a housing provider to provide notice to a tenant of any bedbug infestation within the last 120 days before the tenant signs a lease, to require a housing provider to obtain services of a pest control professional within 10 calendar days of notification from a tenant that bedbugs may be present in his or her unit, to require bedbug monitoring services for 12 months after a pest control professional determines that no evidence of bedbugs can be found in the unit, to require a tenant to grant a housing provider and pest control professional access to the unit at a reasonable time noticed in advance by the housing provider, to require a tenant to cooperate with recommendations of the pest control professional in the event of an infestation, to allow housing providers to charge the cost of inspection and remediation of bedbugs in a unit to the tenant in limited circumstances, to require pest control professionals to report data to the Department of Buildings ("Department") annually and maintain certain records for two years, to establish a process by which the Department handles complaints from tenants regarding housing providers who do not comply with certain requirements of the act, to require the Department to create an infestation history notification form to be used by housing providers, to require the Department to create a pamphlet on bedbugs and conduct educational and outreach activities to housing providers and tenants, to establish the Bedbug Inspection and Remediation Assistance Program to be administered by the Department to provide financial reimbursement to remediate bedbug infestations, and to make conforming amendments.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Bedbug Control Act of 2022".
Sec. 2. Definitions
For purposes of
(1) "Bedbug" means a member of the Cimicidae family of parasitic insects.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Buildings.
(3) "Director" means the Director of the Department of Buildings.
(4) "Dwelling unit" means any habitable room or group of habitable rooms located within a residential building and forming a single unit that is used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, and the preparation and eating of meals.
(5) "Eradication" means the elimination of bedbugs from the premises through the use of traps, poisons, fumigations, heat, or any other method of extermination.
(6) "Housing provider" means:
(A) A landlord, owner, lessor, sublessor, or assignee;
(B) The agent of a landlord, owner, lessor, sublessor, or assignee; or
(C) A person entitled to receive compensation for the use or occupancy of a rental unit within a housing accommodation.
(7) "Pest control professional" means a certified applicator, commercial applicator, licensed certified applicator, pesticide operator, or registered technician authorized to work in the District.
(8) "Program" means the Bedbug Inspection and Remediation Assistance Program established in
(9) "Reasonable notice" shall have the same meaning as provided in
(10) "Reasonable time" shall have the same meaning as provided in
(11) "Tenant" means a lessee, sublessee, or other person entitled to the possession or occupancy of a rental unit.
Sec. 3. Rights and responsibilities of housing providers and tenants.
(a) A housing provider shall keep his or her rental property free from bedbugs and shall not offer for rent a dwelling unit to a prospective tenant that the housing provider knows or reasonably should know contains bedbugs.
(b) Prior to the signing of a lease for a dwelling unit by a tenant, the housing provider shall provide the prospective tenant with notice, on a form promulgated by the Department, of any bedbug infestation in the building within the previous 120 days. The housing provider shall use the form to provide the prospective tenant with the following information for the previous 120 days:
(1) The history of any bedbug infestation in any dwelling unit within the building that has been the subject of eradication, including the floor where the dwelling unit is located;
(2) The history of any bedbug infestation in any dwelling unit within the building that has not been the subject of eradication, including the floor where the dwelling unit is located; and
(3) Whether the dwelling unit to be leased previously had a bedbug infestation and whether eradication occurred.
(c)(1) Within 5 days after a tenant finds or reasonably suspects a bed bug infestation in the tenant's dwelling unit or a common area of the building, the tenant should notify the housing provider.
(2) A tenant's failure to notify a housing provider pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not constitute grounds to deny a tenant's request for inspection or eradication of bedbugs by a pest control professional or for a housing provider to recover possession of the dwelling unit.
(d) Upon notification by a tenant pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the housing provider shall:
(1) Acknowledge the complaint within 5 calendar days of notification;
(2) Obtain services from a pest control professional within 10 calendar days of notification;
(3) Schedule inspections or eradication measures at a reasonable time for any affected tenants;
(4)(A) Provide the affected tenants with reasonable notice of inspections or eradication measures, which shall include the specific date and approximate time of an inspection or any eradication measures.
(B) If the housing provider knows that the tenant primarily speaks a language other than English, the housing provider shall provide the notice in that language and in English;
(5) Upon a determination of an infestation by a pest control professional, provide eradication measures until such time as the pest control professional determines that no evidence of bedbugs can be found in the dwelling unit;
(6)(A) Implement bedbug monitoring services in any affected units for a period of 12 months after a pest control professional determines that no evidence of bedbugs can be found in the unit.
(B) If the unit is leased to a new tenant during the monitoring period, the housing provider must fully explain the monitoring activities to the new tenant and continue monitoring during such period;
(C) If a reinfestation that requires a pest control professional to conduct new eradication measures occurs in an affected unit within the 12-month monitoring period prescribed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the 12-month monitoring period shall start over; and
(7) Maintain a written record of complaints and eradication measures, including reports provided by pest management professionals, for 2 years. Upon request by a prospective tenant or the current tenant of a unit that has been subject to inspection or eradication measures by a pest control professional, the housing provider shall provide a copy of any reports provided by the pest control professional for that dwelling unit within 5 business days of receiving the request.
(e) Upon receiving reasonable notice from a housing provider pursuant to subsection (d)(4) of this section, a tenant shall:
(1) Grant the housing provider and pest control professional access to the unit at a reasonable time for purposes of an inspection or eradication measures;
(2) Carry out reasonable preparatory measures necessary for inspection or eradication; provided, that if the tenant is unable to comply with any preparatory measures due to a disability or physical limitation, the tenant may seek assistance from the housing provider, who shall reasonably accommodate the tenant's needs; and
(3) Cooperate with reasonable recommendations made by the pest control professional.
(f)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a housing provider shall be responsible for all costs associated with inspection for and eradication of bedbugs.
(2)(A) The costs associated with inspections or eradication measures may be charged to the tenant when:
(i) The tenant knowingly interferes with, obstructs, or actively hinders inspection for, or treatment to eradicate the presence of, bedbugs in the dwelling unit; or
(ii) Repeated eradications are necessary due to the tenant's failure to properly maintain the dwelling unit.
(B) When a tenant's action under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph results in the infestation of adjacent or adjoining units, as determined by a pest control professional, the housing provider may charge the tenant for the cost of inspections and eradication measures in the adjacent or adjoining units.
(3) If a housing provider charges a tenant for the cost of inspections or eradication measures pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the housing provider shall provide the tenant with:
(A) An itemized receipt of the charges, including the name and contact information of the pest control professional, a description of the services for which the tenant is being charged, and the dates on which the charges were incurred by the housing provider; and
(B) A written notice describing:
(i) The specific instances, including approximate dates and times, in which the tenant knowingly interfered with, obstructed, or actively hindered inspection for, or eradication of, bedbugs in the dwelling unit;
(ii) Evidence of the conditions of the tenant's dwelling unit, caused by the tenant's failure to properly maintain the unit, which made repeated eradications necessary; or
(iii) Evidence of the presence of bedbugs during a visual inspection of the unit by the housing provider and the tenant after the tenant terminates his or her occupancy and evidence that demonstrates a lack of notice from the tenant.
(C) The notice provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph shall also include:
(i) Language that offers the tenant an opportunity to pay any charges through a payment plan over the remainder of the tenant's lease, or over a period agreed to by both parties in writing; and
(ii) The physical address, web address, and phone number of the Department.
(D) If the housing provider knows that the tenant primarily speaks a language other than English, the housing provider shall provide the itemized receipt and notice required by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph in that language and in English.
(g)(1) When a tenant knowingly interferes with, obstructs, or actively hinders inspection for, or treatment to eradicate the presence of, bedbugs in the dwelling unit, or fails to pay charges levied against him or her pursuant to subsection (f)(2) of this section, a housing provider shall be entitled to terminate the tenant's lease agreement for violating an obligation of tenancy.
(2) Lease agreements shall contain a provision acknowledging that a housing provider may terminate a lease agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection; provided, that this requirement shall not apply to leases executed prior to March 31, 2023.
(3) Upon termination of a lease agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, a housing provider shall provide a tenant with a notice that contains information required by subsection (f)(3)(B) of this section.
(h)(1) A tenant may file a complaint with the Department when a housing provider violates subsections (b) or (d) of this section. Complaints filed by a tenant shall be processed by the Department pursuant to
(2) Housing providers shall have 15 days from the receipt of a notice of infraction issued by the Department pursuant to
Sec. 4. Responsibilities of pest control professionals.
(a) A pest control professional shall report to the Department annually the following information:
(1) The total number of bedbug inspections conducted in the last 12 months;
(2) The total number of eradication treatments completed in the last 12 months;
(3) The street address of any dwelling unit inspected or treated in the last 12 months; and
(4) Any additional information considered necessary and relevant by the Department.
(b)(1) A pest control professional shall keep records of inspections and eradications conducted in a dwelling unit or rental property in the District for 2 years after the completion of the inspection or treatment measures.
(2) Upon request by the tenant whose dwelling unit was subject to inspection or eradication measures, or upon request by the housing provider who owns the unit or rental property, a pest control professional shall provide the tenant or housing provider copies of any requested reports made by the pest control professional for the affected unit or rental property within 5 business days of receiving the request.
Sec. 5. Responsibilities of the Department.
(a)(1) The Department shall notify a housing provider of a complaint from a tenant within 10 business days of receipt of the complaint. A housing provider shall have 10 business days from the date on which the housing provider receives the notice to respond and submit any of the following applicable information:
(A) Documentation and communications with the tenant that demonstrate a good faith effort to reasonably accommodate the tenant's needs to comply with any preparations necessary for inspection or eradication measures;
(B) Documentation and communications that demonstrate that the housing provider has made a good faith effort to schedule an inspection or eradication measures, or documentation of any extenuating circumstances that resulted in the inspection or treatment measures being delayed and rescheduled;
(C) An inspection report by a pest control professional demonstrating that the dwelling unit does not currently have a bedbug infestation;
(D) A report by a pest control professional demonstrating that eradication measures to eradicate bedbugs are in the process of being completed or have been completed; or
(E) If that a pest control professional has completed eradication measures in the dwelling unit and determined that no evidence of bedbugs can be found, evidence of monitoring services currently in use in the dwelling unit.
(2)(A) If the housing provider fails to respond to the Department's notice within 10 business days of receipt or does not provide adequate documentation pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Department shall:
(i) Order the housing provider to take specific steps to accommodate a tenant's needs, schedule an inspection, or schedule eradication measures; and
(ii) Issue a notice of infraction.
(B) A housing provider's violation of this paragraph shall be a Class 4 infraction subject to a fine under section 3201.1(d) of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (16 DCMR § 3201.1(d)).
(3) The Department shall include, with the written notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection, information on the Bedbug Remediation Assistance Program established in
(b) The Department shall create and publish a form, to be used by housing providers, for purposes of notifying tenants of any history of bedbug infestations in a building within the last 120 days.
(c) The Department shall conduct outreach efforts to housing providers and tenants for the purposes of educating the public about bedbugs and create and publish educational materials for tenants and housing providers, including a pamphlet that contains, at a minimum, the following information:
(1) Specific facts about the bedbug, including its lifecycle, appearance, and breeding habits;
(2) Behaviors that are risk factors for attracting and supporting the presence of bedbugs;
(3) Measures that may be taken to prevent and control the presence of bedbugs in a dwelling unit or rental property; and
(4) The responsibilities and rights of tenants and housing providers under
(d) The Department shall enter into an agreement with the Department of Energy and Environment to access and collect information on licensed pest control professionals in the District.
(e) The Mayor may, pursuant to
Sec. 6. Bedbug Inspection and Remediation Assistance Program.
(a)(1) There is established a Bedbug Inspection and Remediation Assistance Program to be administered by the Department, the purpose of which is to provide financial reimbursement to certain individuals who remediate bedbug infestations.
(2) To be eligible for financial assistance, an applicant shall:
(A) Be a resident of the District;
(B) Own the rental property or dwelling unit to be treated for bedbugs;
(C) Live in the subject property as the applicant's principal place of residence for more than 50% of the calendar year; and
(D) Provide as evidence of eligibility:
(i) Proof of household income of no more than 80% of the area median income for a household of like size in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area as set forth in the periodic calculation provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(ii) One of the following documents to prove ownership:
(I) Proof of payment of property taxes or current mortgage statement;
(II) Proof of homeowners' insurance; or
(III) Any comparable documentation as determined by the Department;
(iii) A sworn affidavit certifying that the applicant lives in the subject property as the applicant's principal place of residence for more than 50% of the calendar year; and
(E)(i) If electing to receive a rebate pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of this section, all receipts and service records provided by a pest control professional, including the date of service, address of service, cost of service, and type of treatment.
(ii) If a pest control professional has not performed the inspection or treatment prior to the application being submitted, a written cost estimate of the proposed service may be used; provided, that the applicant shall submit actual receipts and service records after services are rendered by a pest control professional.
(3)(A) Within 7 business days of receiving a full and complete application for reimbursement pursuant to this section, the Department shall provide written notification to the applicant of approval or denial of the application.
(B) If the application is denied, the notification shall include the reason for the denial and the process for reconsideration.
(4) If an application is approved, the Program shall pay, subject to subsection (c) of this section:
(A) Up to 80% of bedbug infestation abatement and inspection costs for a household with incomes between 70% to 80% of the area median income for a household of like size in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area as set forth in the periodic calculation provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; or
(B) Up to 100% of the remediation and inspection costs for households with incomes below 70% of the area median income for a household of like size in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area as set forth in the periodic calculation provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
(b) To receive financial assistance from the Program an applicant shall:
(1) Select an eligible pest control professional from a list maintained by the Department, in which case the Department shall directly pay the pest control professional the eligible costs; or
(2) Receive a rebate for the eligible costs paid by the applicant to a pest control professional.
(c) Financial assistance made available through the Program shall be limited to actual costs incurred to eradicate bedbugs by a pest control professional and shall not exceed $3,000 for a single dwelling in a calendar year.
(d) Financial assistance made available through the Program is subject to the availability of funds.
Sec. 7. Section 6 of the Office of Administrative Hearings Establishment Act of 2001, effective March 6, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-76; D.C. Official Code § 2-1831.03), is amended by adding a new subsection (b-30) to read as follows:
Sec. 8. Section 222(b) of the Rental Housing Act of 1985, effective August 5, 2006 (D.C. Law 16-145; D.C. Official Code § 42-3502.22(b)), is amended as follows:
(a) Paragraph (1) is amended as follows:
(1) Subparagraph (K) is amended by striking the phrase "; and" and inserting a semicolon in its place.
(2) Subparagraph (L) is amended by striking the period and inserting a semicolon in its place.
(3) New subparagraphs (M) and (N) are added to read as follows:
"(M) The form published by the Department of Buildings pursuant to
"(N) The educational pamphlet about bedbugs published by the Department of Buildings pursuant to
(b) A new paragraph (1C) is added to read as follows:
"(1C) The requirement in paragraph (1)(M) of this subsection shall apply to an application for a residential rental unit submitted at least 90 days after the form is published in the District of Columbia Register.".
Sec. 9. Applicability.
(a) This act shall apply upon the date of inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.
(b) The Chief Financial Officer shall certify the date of the inclusion of the fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, and provide notice to the Budget Director of the Council of the certification.
(c)(1) The Budget Director shall cause the notice of the certification to be published in the District of Columbia Register.
(2) The date of publication of the notice of the certification shall not affect the applicability of this act.
Sec. 10. Fiscal impact statement.
The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 4a of the General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975, approved October 16, 2006 (120 Stat. 2038; D.C. Official Code § 1-301.47a).
Sec. 11. Effective date.
This act shall take effect after approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December
24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.