Bedbugs Top UPCS Inspection List
Essentially a nonexistent issue since they were eradicated after World War II, bedbugs are back—in a big way. As a result, as of Sept. 13, 2010, inspectors in the Uniform Physical Conditions Standards (UPCS) program are required to report the presence of bedbugs at any site they inspect.
At this point, HUD is not asking inspectors to factor either the presence or treatment of bedbugs into the score of the UPCS inspection. The agency notes that it is collecting the data to “ensure that HUD program participants maintain HUD properties in decent, safe and sanitary condition, and in good repair.”
Behind the Bedbug Resurgence
DDT, now a banned pesticide because it is so toxic, was used to wipe out bedbugs in the United States and other industrialized nations. Over the past decade, and especially in the past year, in many regions, bedbug populations have increased and spread.
Some experts attribute the resurgence to growing levels of international travel, changes in pest control practices, and general insecticide resistance. Bedbugs can be found in places other than beds—under peeling paint and loose wallpaper, under carpeting near baseboards, in upholstered furniture seams, and under light switch plates and electrical plates—just to name a few. Contrary to common beliefs, bedbugs are not a sign of a dirty place or person. They survive and thrive on a warm host—humans—and seek out an environment with many hiding places.
Bedbugs tend to be more common in facilities that experience high turnover in occupancy, such as apartment complexes, dormitories, hotels, military barracks, and homeless shelters. HUD reports that the problem is becoming more widespread, regardless of housing type or style. As a result, HUD has established protocols to help sites deal with the bedbug problem through its UPCS inspection program.
HUD is directing its UPCS inspectors to first meet with the owner or manager, as normal, and take the following steps:
Ask if there have been any reports of bedbugs in any units.
Enter results of the inquiry in the “Property Information” tab of their reports as: “no bedbugs reported” or “yes, bedbugs reported.”
If the site has had no reports of bedbugs, the inspector will proceed with the inspection. If there have been reports of bedbugs, the inspector is to follow these specific procedures before continuing with the inspection:
Call the Technical Assistance Center to report the presence and location of the bedbugs and obtain a TAC number.
Record the TAC number in the Inspection Report and identify the building(s) and units(s) with bedbugs. For example, the inspector might enter, “Yes, bedbugs reported, Building 1, 50 of 100 units.” If the inspector is not given the number of units, he might write, “Yes, bedbugs reported, Building 1, numerous units—site did not provide number.”
Inspectors will not enter a unit if bedbugs are reported in that unit. If any unit with bedbugs is selected in the inspection sample, the inspector will:
Select an alternate. Alternate units must be selected in the order they are displayed in the UPCS software, but may be inspected in the order most convenient to the inspector.
Treat the unit(s) with bedbugs as uninspectable, select “Other Hazard” for the reason, and write “bedbugs” as the comment.
If the presence of bedbugs is discovered after the start of the inspection, the inspector will do all of the following:
Call the TAC immediately.
Report the presence of bedbugs and the location (building/unit).
Obtain a TAC number and record the TAC number in the “Property Information” tab of the Inspection Report.
Select “Other Hazard” for the reason the unit is uninspectable and write “bedbugs” as the comment.
Select an alternate unit.
If the site has relocated the residents because of a bedbug issue, then the unit is considered vacant and still should not be entered.
HUD issued this inspection protocol to UPCS inspectors via Inspector Notice No. 2010-01. Questions about the protocol can be directed to the TAC at 1-888-245-4860.