In Response to Tenant Organizing, City of Concord Adopts Bed Bug Policy
The City of Concord in Contra Costa County has adopted a Bed Bug Response Pilot Program and declared bedbugs a public nuisance subject to civil, criminal and administrative remedies. The new policy embraces the City’s role in enforcing a landlord’s obligation to provide a bed bug free home to their tenants.
Tenants Together has been organizing buildings in Concord where landlords have been allowing bed bug infestations to persist. In the summer of 2013, TT began helping Concord tenants make formal complaints. In October, tenants testified at a city council meeting about the problem. In response, City Councilmember Edi Birsan vowed to take action.
Tenant organizing moved city policy
The new policy follows a period of inaction on bed bug complaints. Initially, city code enforcement officials and county public health officials frustrated tenants by “passing the buck,” each claiming the other was responsible for holding landlords accountable to address bedbug infestations.
Monica Damian, a tenant living in the Monument corridor, a neighborhood afflicted with infestations, welcomed the news: “We’ve been suffering with these bed bugs biting us for so long. I’m glad the City is recognizing the problem and taking steps to address it, but it needs to happen without delay. These bugs are biting our family every night and we need help.”