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"Bed Bug Explosion" Creates Concern Over Housing Authority Treatment Policy

HUD policy states a public housing authority may not charge a tenant to cover the cost of bedbug treatment.
Update (June 7):
HOT SPRINGS, AR - There are new details today about a bed bug problem in Hot Springs we first reported on last night.

Fox 16 News has learned today that the Public Housing Director has instructed the Hot Springs Housing Authority Executive Director to return tenant money paid for bed bug treatment.

Residents are also being advised to know that any lease addendum needs to conform with the public housing notice.

There's no word on whether or not any disciplinary action will be taken.

Original report (June 6):
HOT SPRINGS, AR - A bed bug problem has exploded in the Hot Springs Housing Authority. That's according to their Executive Director.

She says they're trying to protect your taxpayer dollars by charging the tenants for treatment.

That's not sitting so well with some people though.

Dennis Bosch served as Chairman of the Board for the Hot Springs Housing Authority for one term.

He resigned from his duties as Vice Chairman last month for unrelated reasons but around the time the Housing Authority Tower had 7-10 rooms infected with bedbugs.

To alleviate the financial burden on the Housing Authority, management charges tenants for the treatment. That's 450 bucks.

Executive Director Barbara Baer says, "To keep tenants responsible for their own actions while protecting tax money."

It's a policy Bosch says he was not aware of.

"I'm just surprised we're charging for them," Bosch remarked.

In the latest Housing and Urban Development (HUD) notice regarding the "Guidelines on Bedbug Control and Prevention in Public Housing" it specifically states under "Tenant Rights and Responsibilities" the tenant will not be expected to contribute to the cost of the treatment effort.

"That's what I understand," Bosch confirmed. "I don't know how you can prove bed bugs are their fault."

Baer claims she created a Lease Addenda that tenants sign when they move in confirming there are no bedbugs. She says it allows her to charge when the pests show up.

Bosch argued, "I don't think there is an addendum that allows them to charge four-fifty and I don't think HUD would approve of that."

In fact however, HUD reserves the right to approve lease addenda. Baer says she tried to get approval but she "Couldn't hold their feet to the fire for anything. Never got a yes, no or a maybe."

"They'll do the right thing," Bosch added. "They'll probably refund the money. I think that's the right thing to do."

The current Chairman of the Board for the Hot Springs Housing Authority Board, Al Carney, claimed "Dennis Bosch is on a crusade to fire Barbara Baer because she's a woman and doesn't like her."

We shared with him the policy taken from HUD and he persisted that if a tenant signs the lease addenda saying there are no bed bugs when they move in that the tenant is responsible when bed bugs show up.
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