Buyer Beware: of Bed Bugs?

There are various standard inspections that buyers of New York State real estate customarily order in their inspection process to buying a home. According to the pest control experts, there should be another– an inspection for Climex Lectularius or “common bed bug.”

Everyone’s worst nightmare is a hotel room infected with those tiny nocturnal insects that hide in nooks, crannies, and crevices during the day, but feed on humans (blood) at night. The nightmare scenario of oval flattent and wingless bodies which are a light to reddish-brown and 1/4 to 3/8 inch long (think apple seed). The welts take a day or two to develop and not all bed bug sufferers react to their bites, which delays detection and action.

Buyer beware if you’re buying a house or looking for a new condo or apartment because you may be moving into a home or apartment invaded by bed bugs. New York State law provides you no protection from such pest infestations because most sellers do not complete the Property Disclosure Statements choosing instead to pay a $500 penalty for not completing it before making the sale. Indeed, real estate disclosure laws often don’t apply to co-op and condo owners or lessors.

Bottom line– before you buy or rent under the doctrine of caveat emptor – let the buyer beware – the seller has no affirmative obligation to reveal circumstances about the apartment to the buyer. That means buyers must rely on the integrity of sellers and landlords anxious to make a sale.

Many people are now hiring a pest control company to check termites, carpenter ants, and bed bugs. For more on this interesting phenomenon, read this bed bug and real estate article.