AUGUSTA — A revised bedbug ordinance would allow the city to take action when rental properties become so infested they risk spreading the pests to neighboring properties, city officials said Thursday.

City councilors discussed the revised bedbug ordinance, which, unlike an emergency ordinance passed previously, would apply to all rental buildings in the city, not just multi-units, and would allow tenants who don’t cooperate with efforts to get rid of bedbugs to be held responsible for the cost of treating an infestation.

Councilors expressed support for the ordinance Thursday, and the proposal is expected to go to them for a first of two required readings at their next business meeting.

Changes were made to the emergency ordinance adopted May 5 after a bedbug infestation was discovered at two Water Street boarding homes. City officials said they couldn’t do much about it because no existing state and city rules covered bedbug remediation.

“There is no state enforcement mechanism” to require landlords to take action against a bedbug infestation, said Matt Nazar, city development director. “This provides the municipality the opportunity to deal with problems that come to our attention, that aren’t being properly addressed.”

Nazar said the city will likely apply the ordinance only rarely. He said if a tenant reports a bedbug problem to a landlord, and the landlord brings in pest control experts to treat the building to get rid of them, the city wouldn’t get involved.

The proposed new permanent bedbug ordinance was modified after city officials met with landlords, property managers, tenant advocates, pest control workers and state health officials to discuss it.

Changes were made after the meetings, including that its rules would apply to all rental buildings in the city.

The ordinance also includes new language that states tenants can be held responsible for treatment costs if they don’t cooperate with remediation efforts by landlords and pest control agents. That includes not following instructions for cleaning and other preparations, or not allowing pest control workers access.

At-Large Councilor Cecil Munson asked what happens when tenants don’t comply with reasonable remediation measures, but doesn’t have any money to cover the costs themselves. Nazar said the landlord probably would have to take the tenant to court to recover the costs.

The ordinance specifies that tenants should notify their landlords if they know or suspect there is an infestation of bedbugs in their rental unit, and they shall not try to treat the infestation themselves.

Bridgeo said Tuesday all those changes were recommendations by the stakeholders group.

The ordinance gives landlords responsibility for having a pest control agent treat bedbug infestations.