We all know what August means for local-news hysteria: bedbugs! Just minutes after we added to it on Friday with two new potential sources of infestation, Penguin came down with a case of the critters and had to send everyone home so that they could fumigate. The next day, Bill Clinton's office had 'em, too. Then we opened Sunday's "Real Estate" section in the New York Times to a huge story, "Buying and Selling in Bedbug City," on how bedbugs are becoming game-changing deal-breakers in the condo and co-op world:
"The broker said, 'This is New York City — you have all sorts of things like cockroaches and rats,' " she explained, asking that her name be withheld because she was worried about being labeled as a troublemaker by another co-op board. "But it's very different to have a cockroach than something that sucks your blood and is in your bed. I would rather have rats."
Not to mention this sobering fact:
"Most residential buildings in New York City have had bedbugs," said Aaron Shmulewitz, a real-estate lawyer at Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman who represents 300 Manhattan co-op and condo boards.
It does make sense that this would be a real-estate headache. How many stories have we heard about families forced to move because of bedbugs — and the unwitting suckers who have to take their places? The solution: Never buy an apartment, ever. (Prediction for next August: the first bedbug-caused suicide.)