The Wall Street Journal Metropolis blog reports that New York Governor David Paterson has signed into law the Bedbug Disclosure Act.

The law requires building owners to disclose a one-year history of bedbug infestations in their buildings to potential tenants.

“New York City tenants have been living in fear of bedbugs, and I am excited to offer them this new protection,” Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, who represents Manhattan’s Upper West Side and sponsored the legislation tells the WSJ.

The bedbug problem appears to be particularly acute in New York City where a number of businesses such as hotels, clothing stores, hospitals and even the Empire State Building have been affected, as well as apartments and homes.

Over at Risk Management Monitor, Jared Wade notes that the wave of bedbug infestations in the city has resulted in a lot of reputation damage to local businesses.

It’s not just the Big Apple that’s been feeling the bite. This summer has seen a resurgence of bedbug infestations across the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a joint document on bedbug control. In it they acknowledge:

The current national problem with bed bugs is likely due to the convergence of three human behaviors: lack of awareness of the historical and biological link humans have with bed bugs, increased international travel, and past over-reliance on pesticides.”

The EPA and CDC recommend an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to control bedbugs that includes: using monitoring devices; removing clutter where bedbugs can hide; applying heat treatment; vacuuming; sealing cracks and crevices; using non-chemical pesticides and judicious use of chemical pesticides.

This is a good time to mention that from insurers’ perspective the cost of getting rid of bedbugs, like other vermin, is considered part of the maintenance associated with owning a home and generally is not covered by standard homeowners’ and renters insurance policies.

Most standard commercial property insurance policies also have vermin exclusions for infestation, but it’s important to discuss the terms of an individual policy with your insurance agent.

However, further legislation in the bedbug arena may be helpful in defraying some of the costs. The WSJ reports that another bill introduced in the New York Assembly would create a state tax credit for bedbug sufferers who have had to replace furniture, bedding and other items because of bedbug damage.