NEW YORK - (AP) - New York City officials are announcing a policychange that could leave landlords facing harsher penalties for notaddressing the spread of bedbugs.

The City Council and housing and health officials said Tuesdaythat when inspectors find bedbug infestations the city will nowissue Health Department abatement orders. They will carry stifferpenalties than the violations handed out by housing officials.

The change means that officials can lay out guidelines for thekind of pest control landlords should adopt and can require them totreat apartments next to an infested one. The city could ultimatelytake liens out on their properties.

The city has seen a rise in the critters in homes, theaters,hotels and clothing stores. The infestations worry residents andscare off tourists.