Realty Bites

Our landlord says we have to keep our garbage in our apartment until pick up day. Is this a violation of any kind?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
July 26, 2022 - 1:30PM

If your building has three or more units, there must be a designated area for trash and recycling storage.


I moved into a small building with six apartments and there is no trash room. The landlord says we have to store trash and recycling in our apartment and place it on the curb on pickup day. Does go against any rules? What can I do to make the landlord set up a better system?

New York City landlords are required to provide a designated storage area for garbage and recycling if the building has three or more units. So in your case, you should bring the rule to their attention, and report them to the city if they don’t follow through.

According to NYC administrative code section 16-120(a), a person who manages or controls a building must provide receptacles for waste, says a Department of Sanitation spokesperson. The rules also state that containers must also “be of sufficient size and number to contain the wastes accumulated in such a building or dwelling during a period of 72 hours.” 


[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.]

It’s common for large buildings to have trash rooms with receptacles on each floor, and there should be a super who keeps the area clean. In smaller buildings, you might not have a trash room on your floor, but there should be garbage and recycling bins in the front of the building or in the basement. Buildings with nine or more apartments are also required to provide janitorial services, according to NYC’s housing maintenance code. 

Section 16-120(c) says your landlord should take the garbage out for collection and return the bins to the building within a certain amount of time, depending on your area’s pick-up schedule. According to 311, the bins should be kept in or behind the building and remain closed.

Your landlord is also required to post a notice about the hours for trash collection, says a Department of Housing Preservation & Development spokesperson. And tenants are not supposed to store trash in their apartment in order to prevent "an unsanitary or dangerous condition," the HPD spokesperson says.

Your landlord also has a “duty to repair,” according to the Attorney General’s tenants’ rights guide, which includes maintaining apartments and common areas “clean and free of vermin, garbage, or other offensive material.”

How can you report a landlord who isn’t following code? If they’re not providing a storage area for collection, the area is inadequate, or your landlord does not keep the area clean, you can file an online 311 complaint. 

In addition, DSNY may ticket your landlord if the building has more than four units for not providing bins for recycling, says DSNY’s spokesperson. The fee ranges from $25 to $100, depending on the size of the building. DSNY also needs access to the building to observe the violation after you file a complaint, the spokesperson says.



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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