Graphical cartoon showing cockroaches moving in to a nervous tenant’s apartment.

Roaches and insects are an unwelcome tenant that you DON’T have to host in your apartment.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Seeing a mouse or a cockroach in your apartment, or suspecting you have bedbugs, is no fun. Your feelings may range from added stress and annoyance to abject fear or disgust. You may be panicking trying to determine how this could have happened, or what you can possibly do as a next step. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

First, it’s important to know all the facts about a pest problem. While a rodent, roach, or bedbug infestation is not necessarily likely to occur with a furnished apartment rental, it’s certainly not uncommon. In 2013, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted around 95,000 inspections based on rodent complaints in areas throughout the five boroughs. In New York City, the most common apartment pests are:

New York Habitat infographic with information about identifying mice, cockroaches and bedbugs.

Learn how to identify common New York City household pests so you’ll be better-equipped to get rid of them.

The good news is, you don’t need to panic if you see rodents or insects in your apartment. Bedbug infestations are irritating and upsetting, but not known to spread disease, and while roaches and rodents can pose health risks if left unmanaged, immediate risks are generally low and can be managed before becoming a large-scale infestation.

I saw a pest—now what?

Fortunately, if you find unwelcome creatures in your apartment, there are simple steps you can take to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

1. First, send an email or make a phone call to your apartment’s owner or landlord and let them know what you saw and where. Try to include as much detail as possible!

2. Get in touch with your New York Habitat agent next and alert them to the issue. We’ll coordinate with our Quality Assurance department to follow up with the owner.

3. Keep in touch with your apartment’s owner for full instructions about when and what you can expect from the exterminator.

4. If you have trouble reaching the owner, we can act as a liaison on your behalf.

In the meantime, there are also steps you can take to protect your belongings and living space and aid professional exterminators in effectively cleaning your apartment.

New York Habitat infographic featuring 6 practical tips for tenants who have discovered mice, roaches or bedbugs in their apartment.

Follow these 6 steps as soon as possible to prepare your apartment for extermination.

In the case of bedbugs, a few extra steps should be taken right away: Wash and dry clothing on the highest possible heat and a double cycle, and store in a sealed plastic bag until extermination is complete. Wash and dry all bedding on highest possible heat/double cycle as well. Ask your landlord if they can send bedbug-proof mattress and pillow covers for your protection until extermination is complete, and bedbug spray for sofas and window treatments. Vacuum floors, and seal and throw away the vacuum’s dust bag when complete. Do not reuse the vacuum bag. After vacuuming, floors should be cleaned with bleach.

An exterminator can also provide you with extra information about what preventative steps you can take in relation to your specific situation.

What should my landlord do?

It is New York Habitat policy to only list apartments that are maintained to a minimum standard of quality and cleanliness. Landlords are also expected to be responsive and take care of pest control issues as soon as possible. It is the mission of our Quality Assurance department to respond to tenant complaints and inform landlords of best practices, and we are happy to act as a liaison on the request of a tenant if any issue arises. Therefore, we contact and encourage landlords to act quickly in providing pest control services in the event of an infestation.

According to New York law, landlords must keep a dwelling free of rodents or vermin. Tenants also have a right to a bedbug-free environment, and landlords have a 30-day period to get rid of bedbugs after a complaint from a tenant. While your agent and New York Habitat can’t provide legal services for you, if an owner fails to follow up on your request for extermination, you can contact us and we will try to get in touch with the owner. You can also always call New York City’s 311 Citizen’s Service Center line to file an official complaint with the city.

New York Habitat renting tips for keeping your apartment pest-free

Of course, almost everyone would prefer to avoid the problem of mice, roaches, or bedbugs altogether! While there’s never any guarantee that anti-pest measures will be 100% effective, there are preventative steps you can take to stop roaches, mice and bedbugs from entering your apartment:

New York Habitat infographic featuring 6 prevention tips for keeping mice, roaches and bedbugs out of your apartment.

Avoid inviting pests into your apartment in the first place by following these easy prevention tips!

While New York Habitat cannot guarantee that our apartments will always be pest-free, we take all necessary steps to ensure that rentals are free of rodents and insects and ready for tenancy. When an apartment receives a pest complaint, we ask for a receipt from owners to ensure that they have taken steps to exterminate the problem before it can be rented again. If an apartment has repeated pest complaints, it will not be rented to a client until agents receive proof that the problem has been solved and pests eradicated.

In a city as large and unpredictable as New York, it’s helpful to have someone in your corner. At New York Habitat, we aim to simplify the rental experience by providing assistance in tenant-landlord relationships, being there as a resource if you encounter any issues with your rental, and working behind the scenes as a rental agency to ensure the apartments in our database are up to standard. Interested to learn more? Browse all of our New York apartments online, or send us a request to get in touch with a licensed agent!