Congratulations, you woke up one morning to the realization that you’re sharing your apartment with several hundred of your closest friends. Well maybe not your friends, but they’re living at your apartment, eating your leftover food, going through your trash, and sharing the common areas. We’re not talking about your typical deadbeat roommate, we’re talking about your standard New York City pests, like rats and roaches.


Step 1: Contact


Your very first step is to contact your landlord, super, or management group. You need to make contact with someone, and make sure it’s documented. You need to be proactive, ensure you’re taken seriously, and that it’s been listed as a complaint.

If your building has an “app for that,” be sure to document it everywhere you can. In fact, throughout all of these steps, make sure you’re continually calling the management company or landlord to remind them of the issue.

This is why it’s important to be selective with the broker you use for your next rental or apartment purchase. Triplemint is known for leading the New York City real estate market with their concierge services and overall client satisfaction.

Also, we highly recommend you check out this amazing guide from the NYC Department of Health on how to prevent and control pests safely.

Step 2: Clean Up and Pest Proof your Apartment

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While it may seem obvious that keeping a clean apartment is paramount to avoiding pests, we may not realize that we’re engaging in behaviors that invite in rats and roaches. Remember, don’t leave food out, dispose of your garbage, and wash your dishes. Be proactive, not reactive. In addition, vacuum thoroughly, and wash hard surfaces and small appliances.


To pest proof your apartment, store all boxed or loose food in plastic containers that seal tight and store as much as you can in your refrigerator. If you’re clean but the critters show up anyway, you may have a building problem. Continue onto the next step, and remember to keep contacting the building management or your landlord!

Step 3: Shut the Pests Out

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Pests have a knack for squeezing through tight spaces. Make sure you seal potential places pests can enter your apartment. This means sealing narrow gaps with silicone caulk or small cracks in walls/woodwork with water-based latex paint.

For larger holes (more than 1/2” wide), fill them with steel wool or copper mesh and use spackle or joint compound to fill them. Next, you should close off gaps under doors and around windows. Attach door sweeps under doors leading to outside areas, and fix holes in window mesh.

Lastly, pests can enter through vents. Block their entry and keep air flowing through vents by using mesh screens, cut to size, and placed under or over the vent cover. Secure the screen with caulk or a staple gun.


Step 4: Pest-Control Products or Professionals

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Before calling a professional, you can try to use pesticides yourself. Make sure you use them carefully, and avoid sprays, foggers, and bombs. For cockroaches, we suggest dusts, gel baits, and bait stations/sticky traps. If you only see mice occasionally, we suggest rodenticide bait and traps.

However, if you have rats in your home or a severe mouse or cockroach problem, then you need a pest control professional. Be sure the professional is certified. A good professional will identify the conditions that are contributing to the pests and will come up with a plan for getting rid of the pests.

If you rent, your landlord is required to keep your home pest-free and must hire a professional if necessary. If you see rodents, tell your landlord immediately. If your landlord does not correct the problem, call 311.


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