Realty Bites

Construction on my block sends roaches into my apartment. What can I do?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
May 31, 2022 - 9:30AM

Using an exterminator and asking your landlord to seal off access points are your best bets. 


There are two construction sites on my block and it’s causing a roach problem in my apartment. What can I do?

Pests—such as roaches—are common in New York City apartments, but when there are major construction sites on your block, especially more than one, the problem will likely be exacerbated.

That’s because noise and activity of construction work can send them looking for a quiet, new place to live, like yours. 

However, one thing to know is that NYC requires inspections before major demolitions, and the area must be treated if pests are found, says Gil Bloom, president of Standard Pest Management. 

[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

The clamor of construction activity is not the only cause of infestations. Workers who eat lunch on site and leave food debris can attract mice, Bloom says. And pests have been known to hitch a ride with construction materials. When the project is completed, they may seek refuge in nearby buildings since the development will be newly sealed.

When it comes to roaches, American Cockroaches are usually the only kind that are bothered by construction, Bloom says. They travel through sewer lines, so if construction causes vibrations, they might move elsewhere—including to your apartment. So you should keep your place clean to avoid attracting roaches, especially under sinks. 

Your landlord also has some responsibilities during this time. Local Law 55 requires landlords to to use ongoing measures to prevent infestations in and around their buildings. 

Arik Lifshitz, CEO of DSA Property Group, says pests are always exacerbated when construction is nearby and his team will increase exterminator visits in this situation to prevent infestations. Bloom says landlords should also seal off basement windows and install door sweeps when construction begins. It’s also important that garbage and recycling are stored correctly so they don’t draw pests.

And if your apartment becomes infested and your landlord does not take action, you can file a complaint with Housing Preservation and Development.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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