Bed Bug Addenda

April 2019 Memorandum from HUD

In April 2019, HUD released a Memorandum entitled Clarification to Housing Notice H 20 12-05 Guidelines on Addressing Infestations in HUD-Insured and Assisted Multifamily Housing. This memorandum provides clarifications to HUD’s current guidance regarding pest management, pending the release of updated guidance.

Current HUD guidance for the Multifamily Housing programs is provided in Housing Notice 2012-05 Guidelines on Addressing Infestations in HUD-insured and Assisted Multifamily Housing. The Department is in the process of drafting an update to Housing Notice 2012-05 to reflect current industry standards.

The April 2019 Memorandum clarifies guidance provided in the Notice that owner/agents must conduct regular inspections and exterminate when bed bugs are present.

The Memorandum also discusses changes to the lease and the Bed Bug Lease Addenda. HUD is concerned that some of these changes and/or some of these addenda may contain provisions conflicting with current guidance.

For properties using the HUD Model Lease (HUD-90105-A, HUD 90105-B, HUD 90105-C and HUD 90105-D), HUD must approve any additions, including Addenda.

In reviewing requests for approval, HUD staff should consider the following:

  • The Model Lease:
  • Requires the landlord to provide extermination services, as necessary;
  • Requires the tenant to keep the unit clean; and
  • Allows for the resident to be charged for damages caused by carelessness, misuse or neglect on the part of the resident.
  • Housing Notice 2012-05 Guidelines on Addressing Infestations in HUD-insured and Assisted Multifamily Housing advises that Rental Assistance, Owner Advances, and Reserve For Replacement funds may be used to control infestations.
  • Properties should have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, including resident education regarding housekeeping, cleanliness, acceptable furniture, unit inspection, and identification of bed bugs; owners and management agents may request technical assistance in reviewing and updating such plans;
  • A regular, proactive inspection program by management is a crucial component of an IPM.

HUD provides examples of questionable requests.

  • Provisions that transfer the cost of monitoring, prevention and treatment to residents without cause should be denied
  • Provisions that require the purchase of equipment, such as mattress covers or vacuum cleaners should be denied;
  • Temporary relocation of a resident household for treatment is, generally, not required and, if necessary, should be a property cost (Note from RBD: assuming the resident is not at fault)

HUD should deny requests for approval of changes/addenda that duplicate or contradict the above provisions. After reviewing this Memorandum, HUD staff may also rescind approval of previously approved addenda.

Some owner/agents have incorporated bed bug policies in their House Rules. Some House Rule provisions put the burden of inspection on residents. In these cases, management should have an educational program to help residents identify and understand the importance of prevention and reporting.

House Rules do not require HUD or CA approval (See HH 4350.3 R1, C4 Paragraph 6-9), but owner/agents may not develop House Rules that conflict with the Model Lease, other HUD requirements, or state and local law.

If HUD staff (or CAs) become aware of conflicts, owner/agents should be notified immediately and the House Rules must be amended.

Industry stakeholders should read the entire Memorandum for additional information. 

Note from RBD: Please keep in mind that the Memorandum only talks about lease changes or addenda. However, if you have a “Bed Bug Policy” or a “Bed Bug Agreement”, you are required to comply with the guidance provided by HUD. Calling an Addenda an “Agreement” specifically to avoid approval is not an acceptable practice. No owner/agent “Agreement” may conflict with the lease, HUD requirements or local requirements (as applicable).