San Francisco Supervisors Tackle Bedbug Infestations, Problem Landlords

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)  — Legislation designed to make it easier for San Francisco to correct public health nuisances in rental property is moving forward with the Board of Supervisors.  The measure has prompted a debate over who should be held responsible for bed bug infestations.

The legislation would add new fines of up to $1,000 for property owners who do not correct health nuisances like garbage, mold, mildew, rat infestations, as well as bed bugs, which seem to be everywhere these days.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Property owner and Rent Board Commissioner Bart Murphy argued landlords shouldn’t be completely responsible for bedbugs.

“Landlords don’t go around their buildings shaking out little bags of bedbugs,” he said. “They’re typically caused by tenants.”

The health department insists tenants, as well as landlords could be held responsible for bedbugs under this measure.

Sarah Short, director of the Housing Rights Committee, said the whole bedbug debate missed the point.

“This ordinance is about overall enforcement of public health violations in housing,” she said. “It is not about bedbugs.”

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