NLIHC signed on to a letter, coordinated by the Housing Justice Network, urging the Office of Multifamily Housing to rescind Notice H 2012-5 and reinstate Notice H 2011-20 concerning guidelines for addressing bed bug infestations at private, HUD-assisted housing. The new notice, a modification of the previous notice issued only eight months before, eliminated important protections for low income residents (see Memo, 4/27).
The letter notes that the new notice allows owners to:
- Charge residents for the cost of treating bed bug infestations.
- Evict residents whose apartments are infested.
- Deny those applying for assistance if they had past experiences with infestations.
The letter also criticizes the elimination of timeframes, which were in the previous notice, guiding owners’ actions when a resident reports the presence of bed bugs. The time frame in the prior notice included: responding to the resident within 24 hours, inspecting a unit within three days, and treating the infestation within five days of a reported infestation.
The letter reminds HUD that owners need not be financially burdened because they may be reimbursed by HUD, and HUD can release funds from the projects’ reserves or residual receipts accounts.
The new notice will not only have an adverse impact on residents, it will also “promote the spread of certain infestations” because residents will not report or will delay reporting of infestations for fear of being evicted or incurring the cost of treatment.
The letter is attached.