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Chicago’s Bed Bug Ordinance

Pillars of Law and Information at the United States Supreme Cour

On June 5, 2013, Chicago became one of the first U.S. cities to pass a comprehensive bed bug ordinance, which will go into effect on December 23, 2013. Midwest Pesticide Action Center has long been actively engaged in the important issue of helping residents that suspect a bed bug infestation not to overuse and misuse pesticides. Our work with the city began in 2010 and culminated in 2011 when we submitted our report, Battling Bed Bugs in Chicago: Making the Case for a Comprehensive Plan, to the mayor’s office.  This report helped argue the need for a comprehensive bed bug ordinance and provided a foundation upon which the ordinance could be built.

Midwest Pesticide Action Center worked with the sponsoring Alderman and stakeholders, including organizations and associations representing tenant and landlord/owners’ rights.  Our goal was to elevate the issue of bed bug control in Chicago and promote proper control practices for and slow the spread of bed bugs.  An important component of the ordinance is the requirement that all tenants receive basic education on bed bugs and how to control them.

The ordinance requires property owners to provide best- management practices for bed bug control—practices advocated by Midwest Pesticide Action Center. It also outlines responsibilities for tenants and property owners and directs the Department of Public Health to develop a website-based educational campaign with the most current information on effective bed bug control.

Additional responsibilities include written notification, inspection, treatment via best practices as outlined by the National Pest Management Association, proper disposal practices, and documentation of pest management measures.

The City of Chicago has developed a brochure that landlords must distribute to tenants renewing an existing lease or entering into a new lease. It can be found here.

Non-compliance with the ordinance will result in significant fines for property owners that fail to take steps to eradicate bed bug infestations as well as tenants who do not cooperate.

Metropolitan Tenants Organization has developed a short overview of the Ordinance which can be found here.
View the full ordinance here.
Learn about proper bed bug control here.

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