South Bend councilman proposes bed bug ordinance

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Efforts are underway to get some of the bugs out of the bug removal process in South Bend.

A proposed ordinance targets bed bugs and spells out the responsibilities of tenants and landlords in ridding rental properties of infestations.

While bed bugs are known for their work between the sheets, they appear to be branching out.

“The amount of phone calls I received from renters, single mothers, even more recently has been people who worked for the schools, are working for the schools where children are actually coming to school with bed bugs and dropping some of the critters off in the schools,” said Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. “There is an understanding that some kids have to go to the clean room before they enter into the classroom, to change their clothes.”

Under the proposed ordinance, if a tenant brought a bed bug complaint, a landlord would have no more than 96 hours (four days) to arrange for a qualified inspection.

If that inspection found bed bugs, inspections would then have to be done in neighboring apartments.

No more than five business days after a bed bug complaint, treatment would have to begin. That treatment would have to include the services of a pest control applicator.

“We want, obviously, landlords to pay,” Davis said. “We want the landlords to take care of their property.”

The ordinance further states that a landlord may not rent a dwelling that contains bed bugs, and landlords would have to notify a prospective tenant when a unit has had a bed bug problem in the previous eight months.

Davis has requested that a public hearing on the measure be held at the council meeting on March 27.