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Should landlords have to share what’s been bugging them?

first_img Projections suggest obesity among U.S. adults may not plateau until 2050 Researchers develop model for designing more effective drug cocktails Obesity rate will reach at least 42% Pretty much anybody who’s been apartment hunting knows what they’re looking for in a place to live, and bedbugs usually aren’t on that list.So it might seem like a crazy idea for landlords to tell potential tenants about past bedbug infestations, but Alison Hill believes it will pay off in the long run.A John Harvard Distinguished Science Fellow, Hill is the co-author of a study that examines a requirement — proposed in a number of cities across the country — that would mandate such notifications. The results show that while landlords would experience a modest drop in rental income in the short term, they would make that money back in just a handful of years, and that the policy could dramatically slow the spread of the insects. The study is described in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“We find that in most cases, these policies are expected to have some costs to landlords in the first few years after they are enacted,” Hill said. “There will be some lost rent and higher vacancies rates in apartments that have a history of infestation. But those costs all come back as gains later, because we find that these policies are effective at reducing the spread of infestations.”One way the bugs can spread, Hill said, is during moves. Tenants relocating from infested apartments may inadvertently bring bedbugs to their new place as well as leave them behind at their old one, since the bugs can live in walls and floors as well as in furniture.The proposed disclosure policy creates an unofficial quarantine period, Hill said, by reducing the chances that an infested unit is rented, allowing landlords time to thoroughly treat the space for bedbugs and decreasing the chances they’ll continue spreading.“When the overall level of bedbugs decreases,” Hill said, “landlords will spend less on costly pest-control efforts. There is less chance their apartments will be infested, and vacancy rates go back to normal. While for the first few years we predict there is a little extra cost to them — it depends on the rental market, but it’s on the order of 0.2 percent to 2 percent per unit per year — after the five-year mark they’re expected to see gains that are even higher than that.”The study’s first author, Sherrie Xie, a Ph.D. candidate and veterinary medicine student at the University of Pennsylvania, also developed an online tool to demonstrate how the policy can lead to savings for landlords over time.,The study was sparked, Hill said, by the fact that the re-emergence of bedbugs in recent decades doesn’t fall squarely to any particular governmental agency.“I’m a public health researcher,” she said. “I study infectious diseases like HIV and how we can control them, so to me bedbugs seem like an issue for public health agencies. But at the same time, it’s a problem that’s related to housing … so maybe people who deal with mice, rats, and cockroaches should be the ones dealing with them.“But the reality is that in many cities there is not really any agency responsible for bedbugs,” she continued. “So it’s basically a private thing that people have to deal with.”While that uncertainty has created problems for cities struggling to deal with bedbug outbreaks, it has also created a vacuum for research.“There’s no government funding agency that’s tasked with funding research on bedbugs,” Hill said. “Which just means there are a lot of unknowns about dealing with bedbugs.”In an effort to fill that vacuum, the National Science Foundation funded a working group made up of experts from a host of disciplines, including epidemiology, urban planning, economics, and entomology. The group was co-chaired by Michael Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, who initiated the study and is its senior author.Based on her experience modeling infectious-disease transmission, Hill was invited to join the panel with an eye toward developing models that could make predictions about how best to control the spread of the insects. Another recruit to the team was Chris Rehmann, a professor of civil engineering at Iowa State University, who co-authored the study with Hill, Xie, and Levy.Going forward, Hill said, researchers are planning to expand the study to incorporate greater variety in the housing market and understand how various policies can drive rents up or down, while other studies are in the works that would examine how bedbugs spread from location to location using data on the bug’s genetics or the relocation patterns of a city’s residents.Other studies are planned that would focus on the mental health and economic effects of bedbug infestations on residents, she said.In the meantime, Hill’s co-authors are planning to present their findings to city officials in Philadelphia, where notification requirements are under consideration.“Our hope is to spread the word that disclosure policies can be a cost-effective way of slowing bedbug spread,” she said, “because while there are a handful of cities that have implemented these policies, many others haven’t. We hope our study provides some extra evidence to help make that decision.”This research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation (via the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.center_img Forward thinking on HIV Relatedlast_img read more

Dying For It Star Clea Lewis on the 7 Things She’s Living For Right Now

first_imgClea Lewis has been cracking us up on stage and screen for years, including five seasons as Ellen’s pal Audrey on TV’s Ellen, a stint on Broadway in Absurd Person Singular and more. Now she’s keeping the gags coming as the “unapologetically narcissistic and self-obsessed” Kleopatra Maximovna in Dying For It at the Atlantic Theater Company, opening January 8, 2015. Broadway.com asked the star to share the seven things she’s absolutely living for while starring in the riotous new adaptation of the Soviet-era comedy The Suicide by Moira Buffini. 7. PLAYING THE IT-GIRL OF THE RUSSIAN SLUMS Inhabiting Kleopatra is a blast. She is so unapologetically narcissistic and self-obsessed, which is of course fun to indulge in. But she is also truly passionate and a romantic at heart. I am hoping to help bring purple eye shadow back into vogue. 1. MoMA Iʼm a member, so I try to swing through whenever I am in Midtown. I am currently obsessed with the Matisse cut-outs, the colors are astonishing! The sculpture garden used to be a great place to flirt, but now everyoneʼs on their iphones. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 18, 2015 View Comments 5. ANYTHING TYPEWRITER My husband just wrote a childrenʼs book about an old typewriter, called The Lonely Typewriter. They are so beautiful and sturdy. When I worked on Woody Allenʼs Writerʼs Block, also at the Atlantic Theater, our poster was a photograph of the actual typewriter Woody used to write the play! Related Showscenter_img 3. SNOW DAYS I love cold weather and snow. Iʼm the only one who didnʼt complain last year when we got 30 inches. I complain all summer long, and then when the temperature dips below 50 I feel so much better. I live for when my kids get a snow day and we drink hot cocoa for breakfast and go sledding in Riverside Park. 4. THE AMTRAK TRAIN TO MONTREAL We go every year to visit my brother. It goes all the way from Penn Station to Central Station in Montreal and it takes 10 hours! We donʼt bring any electronics, we just read, play cards, and go for Cokes and chips in the dining car. 6. THE RUSSIAN SAMOVAR RESTAURANT I love having an excuse to go drink infused-vodka martinis at this old-school Theater District restaurant and bar. Itʼs so good for getting into character! I like the lemon, and when Iʼm feeling spicy the horseradish. 2. THE 10-PERSON DINNER PARTY I like to smush people around the table. Itʼs a great way to catch up with friends, and to introduce interesting combinations of people. I always just do a big one-pot dish, a green salad, and a baguette. Then I buy cookies for dessert. Dying For Itlast_img read more