Quality of Life in New York>Question Details

Adina Greenb…, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY

Any one have a suggestion what to do with a mice infestation?

Asked by Adina Greenberg, New York, NY Thu May 7, 2009

My (rental) building has constructural problems that they now are going to fix after 2 years. I have now for the third time a mice infestation and all my landlord does is handing me some glue traps. 311 didn't do much. They called back after 4 months apologizing for the fact they respond so late but in wintertime people who have no heat take presedece, which is understandible. Besides the unhealthy and disgusting part, it also means that my social life comes to a halt because how embarrising is it when you invite people for dinner and there are mice walking around? Any suggestions what I can do to make my landlord understand this is not acceptable?

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HI Adina,

The best way to get your landlord's attention is through his/her wallet. TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MICE IF YOU CAN!

Here are the steps to follow (please confirm with a lawyer):
1)Write a letter to your landlord (this must be documented) stating that you have vermin and he must by state and local law get rid of them in order for you to have safe, quiet enjoyment of your home. Send the letter certified mail and attach the return receipt to the copy of the letter you have when the return receipt comes back to you.
2)In the meantime, call a lawyer friend (you are in real estate so I am sure you have a lot of attorneys that you have reffered people to) and ask if you can place your rent into their escrow account (hopefully they will say yes).
3)Call 311 again and ask to be connected to the Health Department as Emmanuel suggests. file a formal complaint with the health department naming your landlord.
4)After you have received confirmation that your landlord has received your initial letter, call your landlord and tell him/her that you have contacted a lawyer and the health department and you will stop paying your rent and will be putting those monies into an escrow account until the problem is rectified.
5)Put your next rent check into the escrow account and have your lawyer friend give the landlord a call.

This all should take about 2-3 weeks total. The reason you need to put the rent money into an escrow account is because the courts will see that you are acting in good faith. You are not trying to just skip out on paying rent, but setting that money aside until the landlord corrects a problem. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

By doing things this way, you can show your landllord that you understand the law and that he would be silly to try to sue you for the rent since he is the one causing the problem. This actually helps you avoid a legal confrontation.

Also, if you are living in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment you should call the DHCR (Department of Housing and Community Renewal). They will tell you to do all the things I have suggested and they will go after your landlord as well.

Good luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009
Hello Adina,

Rodent problems can potentially cause significant health issues. Even if the landlord has stopped the entry of pests have they cleaned up the remnants left by the pests (fecal matter, etc.). If your landlord is being unresponsive in correcting the issue you can call your local Health Department and request they investigate. I would first try to reason with the landlord before starting down the path of turning the situation over to the Health Department. Once the Health Department gets hold of it, depending on their attitude, it could start a firestorm and confrontational situation between you and the landlord.

I would refrain from attempting to use chemicals or any other method of removal that might affect other residents. This might lead to you being dragged into something you do nnot want to deal with.

Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
http://www.psinspection.com
214-418-4366 (cell)
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Infrared Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
Texas Department Of Insurance, VIP Inspector # 08507061016
Hayman Residential Engineering Services, Field Technician
CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
Web Reference: http://www.psinspection.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009
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