Realty Bites

My landlord is renovating an apartment and it's causing a pest problem. What can I do?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
January 4, 2022 - 1:45PM

Under the warranty of habitability, your landlord is required to address pest problems.


My landlord is renovating an apartment down the hall and it’s creating a mouse problem in my place. Do I have to deal with this? Isn’t the landlord responsible for keeping pests out?

Pests like mice and roaches are unfortunately common in New York City apartments, especially if there’s construction or renovation work in the building—or on your block. The noise and activity can send them looking for a quiet, new home (yours).

As a renter, you are protected by something called the warranty of habitability, which requires your landlord to provide you with a safe, livable space, free of rat, mice, and insect infestations. So your landlord should take care of the issue—which will involve sealing holes and setting traps—without any expense to you.

Some landlords have an extermination company come each month, so this is a good time to take advantage of this—be sure to communicate that you want the exterminator to stop by and be home to let them in. 

[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.]

And if your landlord isn’t proactive, you are within your rights to ask to have the mice removed. According to Local Law 55, all NYC landlords are required to use ongoing measures to prevent infestations in and around their buildings. Most landlords will want to resolve an issue before it gets worse, but you can file a complaint with NYC’s Department of  Housing Preservation & Development if your landlord isn’t taking the issue seriously.

Your landlord might also offer to have the super spray your apartment or provide traps to catch roaches or mice. (If you’re worried about the ethical implications of trapping mice, you can buy humane mouse traps on Amazon for $19—just release it far from your building to avoid a repeat offender.) 

Brokers and experts have also told Brick in the past that changing some of your daily habits can prevent pests from taking up residence in your place. For example, don’t leave food out, close food packaging securely, and don’t let the garbage or recycling pile up before taking it out. 

Need more help dealing with pests in your apartment? Here’s more advice.



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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