January 27, 2012 –This week’s tip may make your skin crawl. I apologize in advance! It also might help you prevent a real infestation.
They’re rare, but HOAs are starting to encounter the disgusting creatures known as bedbugs. “Thank God, but no, I’ve not had one bedbug case!” reports Ben Solomon, an attorney and founder of the Association Law Group in Miami Beach, Fla., who advises more than 500 associations and also represents developers through his second law firm, Solomon & Furshman LLP.
“Thankfully, I haven’t had clients with bedbugs,” echoes Duane McPherson, Addison, Texas–based western region division president at RealManage, an association management firm that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas.
Nathaniel Abbate Jr.’s clients haven’t been as lucky. “Yes, I’ve had clients that have had bedbugs,” reports the partner at Makower Abbate & Associates PLLC in Farmington Hills, Mich., who represents associations. “Obviously, it’s a problem related to mainly stacked condos, not subdivisions.”
Even if your HOA hasn’t seen a single bedbug, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to get on top of the issue—even if you live in the tiniest of properties. “On the issue of vermin generally, all multifamily buildings have to have a program of extermination,” says Robert Galvin, a partner at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine PC in Boston who specializes in representing condos and co–ops. “I don’t care if it’s the Ritz. The pesky little critters will sooner or later appear, and you really have to exterminate the whole building because if you don’t, they’ll just move from unit to unit.”
McPherson also suggests getting ahead on the issue of bedbugs. “That’s one of the most worrisome things we all need to think about as far as condo living,” he says. “If you travel, it’s very easy to bring them home. And once bedbugs establish themselves, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of them.”
Abbate and McPherson suggest you adopt a clear bedbug policy for both owners and tenants in your property. Find out what to address in our new article, What to Do if Bedbugs Invade Your HOA.