The rat next door is dangerous. what can you do about it?

Q: There is a co-op near where I live on the Upper West Side where there is a bush with rat holes from which rats come out and is adjacent to the building. When I contacted the management company of the building, they responded, but they don’t seem to do anything. What can be done if the owner or management company is warned of these problems and does not fix them? What would you do if someone was bitten by a rat?

A: First, alert the city by calling 311 or completing a complaint form online. Many city authorities respond to rodent complaints, depending on where the pests are hiding and the building owner.

Then get in line. As of early August, he had more than 25,100 rodent complaints, including rats and mice filed this year, according to city data. That’s on pace to surpass the nearly 31,600 complaints in 2019 before the pandemic, according to city data. You can also check the inspection status of the property on the city’s “Nezumi Information Portal”.

If the problem persists, the health ministry can issue a subpoena and even order an exterminator at the owner’s expense, an agency spokesperson said.

Steven D. Sladkus, Partner at Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas, said litigation should be a last option because the process is expensive, time consuming, and there are no guarantees of good results. However, if the problem is not resolved and management does not respond, the co-op residents will have to deal with intrusion from rat intruders, a contract outlining the company’s obligations to maintain the building and keep the facility safe. You could be sued for infringement of proprietary rights, including

Mr. Sladkas said he has seen vague promises in these contracts, such as an obligation to maintain a “prestigious apartment.” “And the rats aren’t even close to first class.”

Neighborhood cooperative boards and even single aggrieved neighbors could file nuisance lawsuits to force property owners to fix the problem, Sladokus said.

Record building behavior to mitigate problems. If a resident is bitten by a rat on their premises and the co-op was aware of the intrusion but did not take action, it could be grounds for a personal injury claim. Or broken steps,” he said.

However, most cooperatives are more likely to take action before lawsuits, especially if other residents are involved.

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