City, state, and federal laws regulate pest control practices in the Chicago region. If you own rental properties affected by pest control rules, you’re subject to penalties, fines, or even the shut-down of your rental property when you don’t comply with those laws.
Understand your responsibilities as a landlord by researching the specific laws for rental property. Here are four laws concerning pest control that every Chicago landlord should know.
1. Landlords Are Responsible for Bed Bug Control
If your business is located within the jurisdiction of the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, you’re responsible for providing pest control remediation for any apartments, condominiums, assisted living communities, and other accommodations.
Residents throughout Illinois are entitled to habitable living spaces, so living outside of the City of Chicago’s jurisdiction does not let you off the hook for extermination costs. However, if you can prove that a tenant is responsible for bringing bed bugs into your facility, you may not have to pay all or any of the costs of bed bug treatment.
When it comes to bed bugs, landlords have three main responsibilities to their tenants:
- You must educate your tenants about bed bugs and provide bed bug literature when leases or agreements are signed.
- You must notify all tenants when their rental spaces will be inspected and treated, and you must explain how tenants must prepare their properties.
- You must treat bed bugs using a professional pest control company’s services.
Your tenants have responsibilities, too. They must notify you by phone and in writing when a bed bug infestation is found. They must cooperate with the treatment program, provide access to their units, and dispose of items that cannot be cleaned.
2. Landlords Have 10 Days to Address Complaints
Chicago’s bed bug ordinance allows you up to 10 days to have any suspected units inspected. It’s to your benefit as a landlord to have complaints addressed as soon as possible. Bed bugs can travel from unit to unit in a short amount of time. The longer you wait to inspect units, the worse the problem can grow.
Units on either side of the complaining tenant must be inspected when a complaint is made. Units directly above and below the affected unit must also be inspected.
When units aren’t inspected within the allotted 10-day window, tenants can call 311, their local housing authority, or an attorney to report your negligence. The city can issue fines for bed bug inaction that are as high as $2,000 per day when you’re an unresponsive landlord.
If you violate the law or discriminate against tenants for complaining, your tenant can terminate their lease or rental agreement. Tenants may be entitled to monetary damages and other awards. Avoid any penalties or litigation by swiftly scheduling inspection of units where bed bugs might be present.
3. Landlords Cannot Knowingly Rent Infested Units
You’re breaking the law in Chicago if you provide sleeping accommodations for rent that are known or suspected to be infested with bed bugs. You can rent the units after having a professional pest control company confirm in writing that the rooms or residences contain no bed bugs.
Any unit that is not owner-occupied and rented out for fees or rent is subject to the Chicago ordinance regulations. Covered spaces include single family homes, duplexes, hostels, and group homes.
Management and homeowners’ associations for condominiums and cooperative housing units are not considered multiple rental unit buildings under the bed bug ordinance. Condominium and cooperative buildings have slightly different rules concerning bed bug treatments.
However, condominiums and cooperative buildings must address bed bug issues and develop strategies for treatment. Managers of condominiums and cooperative buildings must maintain their records of pest control for 3 years after a bed bug event in the same way that landlords must maintain bed bug records.
4. Landlords Must Maintain Pest Control Documentation
If bed bugs are found in a unit of your property, you have 10 days to provide pest control treatment. Treatment must be ongoing until the bed bugs are eliminated.
Landlords must maintain a record of all bed bug treatments administered in their units by qualified pest control professionals. The documentation must include the following:
- Records of tenant reports
- Records of pest control treatments performed
- Receipts for pest control services
All receipts for bed bug extermination must be filled out by the pest control technician or the pest control company’s representative. Landlords must maintain records of their bed bug control measures in specific units and within their entire property.
The bed bug documents must be maintained and kept on the premises for 3 years after treatment efforts and reports occur. Your records must be available for inspection by authorized city personnel, which may include officials and employees of the city’s health, building, business affairs, and consumer protection departments.
If you’ve received reports of bed bugs in your rental facilities in Chicago, contact Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management today. We inspect and treat bed bug infestations for landlords and condo managers throughout Aurora, Berwyn, Naperville, and Rolling Meadows, Illinois.