Philadelphia Bed Bug Ordinance Changes Starting January 1, 2021
Starting January 1, 2021, bed bug legislation passed by City Council in 2019 goes into effect. There are many components to this new legislation, but to assure owners are prepared and following the most critical aspects, we have compiled the list below. 

Prior to entering into a new lease:
  • Owner must disclose the history of bed bug infestation and remediation in the unit for the previous 120 days.
  • If no bed bug history exists for the previous 120 days, Owner must state that fact in writing.  
  • Owner and Resident must acknowledge their responsibilities as set forth in City of Philadelphia Ordinance Section 9-4500 et seq.
  • Owner must give Resident the bed bug information notice (currently being developed by L & I and will be available on their website 12/31/20).
  • See attached sample lease addendum.

Develop and follow a bed bug control plan. As of now, specifics regarding a control plan are not defined nor is it specified that the control plan must be in writing. Landlords should be prepared to provide details of the plan if asked by an L & I official or tenant.
During the first year of a lease, no matter who or what causes a bed bug infestation, the landlord is responsible for the full cost of investigating and remediating the unit. 

After the first year of the lease, bed bug remediation is “shared” with the tenant. “Shared” has not been defined.

The legislation has very specific timelines and steps that must be met once a suspected bed bug problem is reported. See attached condensed bed bug legislation. In general, prompt attention to the report is required as well as specifics about written documentation and notice to the tenant.

If any part of the legislation is not followed by the landlord, rent is abated. That means, not only does the tenant not have to pay on going rent, but also rent already paid by the tenant must be refunded to them.

PAA will update you as we receive more details regarding any bed bug regulations. We urge you to work with your legal representation on assuring your leases are up to date and meeting these new requirements. If you have signed any leases that begin in 2021, you should make sure you followed the new bed bug rules. 

We also recommend you contract with a reputable bed bug remediation and extermination company. PAA has several supplier members. (Check our member directory for details.) They should already be aware of these new requirements and can help assure you have developed a reasonable control plan and implemented best practices in bed bug control and remediation.

Please email Leah Sailhamer -  for more information.

Credit: Thank you to Paul Cohen and Cohen Marraccini for their assistance with the guidelines and development of the lease addendum.