PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia’s effort to shed its ranking as number one for bedbug infestations is back on track, after City Council amended a bill setting new rules for reporting and remediation. The bill still is not as strong as advocates would like.
A bedbug task force spent two years working on a bill that would require landlords to treat for bed bugs immediately when a tenant reported them, only to see it undone in committee under pressure from landlords, who wanted to split the cost of treatment with tenants.
Amendments added at this week’s council now pull back on the split cost, saying landlords will bear the cost if bed bugs are reported during the first year a tenant lives in a unit. Task force head George Gould says it’s an improvement.
“We still have some concerns because it gets confusing when you have time periods and there’s disputes but we wanted to get what we thought was the best we could get,” Gould said.
The bill’s sponsor, Mark Squilla, said the bill achieves its goal.
“Our whole intent is to get people to report bed bugs as soon as possible, to get it remediated as soon as possible so that Philadelphia is no longer the number one capital of the world in bedbugs,” Squilla said.
Squilla said there would be a review in a year to make sure the bill is working. The full Council votes on it next week.