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Old 06-21-2008, 08:07 PM
175 posts, read 543,789 times
Reputation: 47


A few thoughts:

1. Roaches are looking for food and water, not dust and clutter. Still, probably a good idea before an inspection to clean up so it doesn't look too messy.

2. To evict, they would have to serve you with a written notice of default under the lease. You then could cure the default. If you don't cure, they could sue for eviction. They would have to serve you with a complaint to evict you. Then, you can answer the complaint, and they will have to prove their case to evict. It's a long hard process - especially if your defense is that you didn't cause the problem - the roaches were there when you moved in.

3. You don't want to live with roaches. They are dirty and can carry diseases.

I suggest that you send a letter to the landlord confirming the conversation and responding to it. Something like this:

Dear Landlord:

On XXX date, I was approached by you in front of the mail box, and told that a neighbor was complaining because roaches were coming out of my apartment. You told me that I needed to hire a cleaning service once a month or I would be evicted. I want to state my position concerning this matter in writing.

First, there has been a roach problem in the building since I moved in, not just in my apartment. The roaches were in my apartment when I moved in. I did not bring in the roaches.

I have seen roaches around the stove and sink of the kitchen area. I keep this area clean of food and dry at all times. I believe that the roach problem is a pre-existing situation that is not my fault.

I suggest that you hire a pest extermination company to inspect and spray the area for roaches. I will fully cooperate with a pest inspection. I will of course perform any cleanup of my apartment that the pest inspector recommends.

I do not want to incur the expense of a cleaning service for my apartment because I do not think my apartment is dirty or that my housekeeping is exacerbating the problem. However, I am open to suggestions for improvements of the inspecter believes my housekeeping is an issue.


Name of tenant.

Obviously, you should make some effort to clean up the apartment before any inspection. The landlord may not be happy about having to hire an exterminator, but it is their responsibility if you didn't cause the problem (if the roaches were there when you moved in).

Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:18 PM
12,344 posts, read 25,672,029 times
Reputation: 10336
I liked classical guy's letter.

I would also suggest getting rid of whatever cardboard you can. Roaches love cardboard. Also try to find the NYC housing code (try googling NYC tenant) because you might find some paragraphs that talk about how the landlord is responsible for getting rid of all pests.

there are also free legal aid places in the city if it should ever come to that.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:46 PM
Location: UWS -- Lucky Me!
757 posts, read 3,322,767 times
Reputation: 206
Roaches love all kinds of paper, even hardcover books.

I'd hire a professional cleaning service. Once the place is cleaned, it will motivate you to be a better housekeeper. I speak from experience. Still not a great housekeeper but better than I was. It can be expensive, but what's it worth to you to keep your apartment and not have an eviction on your record?
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:46 AM
12,119 posts, read 33,098,311 times
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i like the letter that classical guy suggested. the only thing is that i don't know if i can claim total honesty in saying that i kept the kitchen clean and dry all the time because i had always left the sink with water and scrapings from the frying pans. i did dry everything up the next day but generally there was always a wet sink. but i'm sure many people leave a wet sink. i know i shouldn't but reallt this is more or less normal daily life.

sure i can cure the problem by leaving a dry clean sink every day but she seems to say it can only be cured by hiring a cleaning service.

there is no infestation in the studio living area, it's only in the kitchen sink stove area.

but she is not being specific about exactly what she saw. she wails about the roaches being at the stove, i ask her for specifics and instead she raises her voice.

if she sends me a notice of cure, isn't the notice supposed to be specific as to what she saw?

the other thing is that there is all kinds of grime and dirt in between the stove and counter and i cannot get in there unless someone disconnects the stove from the gas line. i'm sure some food dropped there and there are also used roach traps, and there is a roach trap inside the cabinet under the sink of which the previous tenant wrote the expiration date of July 1995, so we know how long this problem has been going on

how exactly did she see the problem? did she come in herself or did an exterminator come in or was it some public agency? is she obliged to tell me exactlly how she saw this?
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:18 AM
Location: Brooklyn, New York
877 posts, read 2,738,422 times
Reputation: 317
As the other posters said, an eviction would be a hard process for the landlord to do and you do have the opportunity to cure the problem if it goes that far. As far as the roaches per se, you have to locate where the infestation is located at in your apartment. If it is under the sink then you need to get down there and find out where and fix it. Evidently, they are coming from somewhere. If they are living in the walls then you have to deny them access to your apartment by caulking or using some putty to close up the spaces that they are coming from. Caulk your cabinets. Search your apartment and get rid of things that are harboring the roaches. It could be anything. Some electronic equipment, microwave, a box that you have things stuffed in etc. Do not leave food out and dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure your sink is dry after you wash dishes. Close up your sink drain when it is not needed. Package your dry goods in air tight plastic containers instead of the packaging that comes from the store. Get rid of excess cardboard and paper. Use a soap container to keep bars of soap enclosed so that the roaches do not have access to them (bar soap is food for roaches). Your stove should be able to slide out far enough so that you can get up any spilled food. If not talk to yor landlord about getting a longer gas tube so that you can move your stove to clean it easier. Once you have done all that, make sure you let the exterminator in on their monthly visits and make sure that they are really extreminating the place and not just squirting stuff under the stove and sink. If they are in and out within 2 minutes, they are probably not doing a good job. A roach problem is a pain but you can make it more manageable. Best of luck on your success in getting rid of them.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:48 AM
175 posts, read 543,789 times
Reputation: 47
I don't think you're going to get rid of them without pesticides. They need to spray. Adjust the letter to make it true - take out the "dry" and just say that you don't leave food out. If you don't kill them, they will multiply and spread into the living areas. The landlord needs to call a pest control co, and you need to be there and talk to the guy about what you need to do to help.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:46 AM
12,119 posts, read 33,098,311 times
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i inquired about an inexpensive cleaning service. someone is supposed to be calling me today. i don't know if that will even cure the roach problem. i agree with all your suggestions. i sprayed the cabinet under the sink and am planning to again. i don't have caulking but i have roach gel that i can use. i am going to rid the apt of all cardboard and paper today. i have to talk to the super about getting a longer gas tube

i haven;t written the letter yet

is it possible an inspector from the city came in yesterday?
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:38 AM
31,736 posts, read 45,478,174 times
Reputation: 13399
taking care of roaches is ultimately supposed to the LL's responsibility. you should not be paying out of pocket for exterminators. HPD gives violations based on the presence of vermin if you were to report it. thats ridiculous that they even suggesting you pay for that.
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:40 PM
901 posts, read 2,951,070 times
Reputation: 583
I had a similar situation with mice in my apt. Basically, I was being blamed. Meanwhile, most people in my building were experiencing mice. The super lied and said that I had food lying around. In reality, I had two CLEAN pots on the stove when he came to check out the problem because of a lack of storage space (I also lived in a studio). Landlords will at times say anything to take the blame off of themselves. I contacted a lawyer and found out that I was right. The landlord is responsible for pest control. In my building we did not even have extermination services, which was illegal. I ended up moving and I currently do not have a pest problem (I also have a cat lol).

I would definatley de-clutter and clean the apt. Roaches will hide in the cardboard and paper. If your space is so small, why don't you and maybe a friend if possible, spend a day or two cleaning the apt from top to bottom. Seriously, turn your phone off, put on some music, and committ to cleaning for the entire day(s). Once this is done, do not let it get that messy. As a single person, you only need to clean up after yourself. Check out some books from the library on cleaning and orgainizig if it's a problem for you. As a tennant, you are required to maintain the apartment, but I don't think they have established exactly what that means. Of course garbage and flith is a no-no.

The landlord is responsible for providing extermination as long as you have a certain amount of units in the building (I don't know the exact #). I would not hire a cleaning service. If they are that concerned, let them pay for the cleaning. To be safe I would be on top of cleaning in case the come by.
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