Pest Control Information for Building Residents and Tenants

Insects and rodents can contaminate food, damage homes and make asthma and allergies worse. The chemicals used to get rid of pests can also cause health problems. Pesticides can cling to carpets, furniture, and other surfaces in your home and are dangerous to people and pets if not properly used.

Safe pest control is a team effort and everyone has a role to play. Just like building owners have a duty to properly maintain property, residents are responsible for keeping their living spaces clean and reporting building maintenance problems to owners or managers.

If you are a building owner or maintenance worker looking for pest control guidance, visit Pest Control Information for Building Owners, Managers, Supers and Workers.

How to Control Pests Safely

To get rid of pests and keep them from coming back, you need to deprive them of everything they need to survive: food, water, shelter, and ways to get around.

  • Report pests and conditions that attract pests - such as water leaks, cracks and holes in walls or floors, and clutter in common areas - to your building manager right away and request they be fixed.
  • If your landlord or building manager does not fix these conditions in a timely manner, call 311 or visit NYC 311 to file a landlord maintenance complaint.
  • Keep garbage in sealed bags or containers and remove from your home every day
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • If your neighbor is not maintaining their yard or other property and there are conditions that may cause rodent infestations on their property, call 311 or visit NYC 311 to file a rodent complaint.
  • See Pest Management Tips for Building Residents (PDF) for more information.
    Other languages (PDF): [Español] [Русский] [বাংলা]

Using Pesticides

  • Pesticides should only be used in a safe manner by licensed pest control professionals.
  • Never use foggers, bombs, or illegal pesticides such as Chinese/Roach Chalk, Tres Pasitos or Tempo. These chemicals are dangerous and can easily land in places where people cook, eat and play.
  • Never use pesticides that do not have a manufacturer's label.

Health Effects from Pesticides

Short-term exposure to pesticides may result in:

  • Eye, throat and nose irritation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Long-term, ongoing exposure to pesticides may result in increased cancer risk and other serious health problems.

Pests and Asthma

Pests such as cockroaches and mice are far too common in many NYC households, especially in low-income neighborhoods with poorly maintained housing. In some neighborhoods, over 50% of households report seeing cockroaches every day and mice within the last 3 months. Cockroach and mouse body parts and droppings affect indoor air quality and can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks in some children and adults. In NYC, asthma affects over 1 million New Yorkers.

Home Assessments for Asthma Triggers

Children younger than 21 years old who have been diagnosed with asthma by a health care provider and live in a home with pests (mice or cockroaches) are eligible for a free home assessment by the NYC Health Department’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP). A referral for this service can be requested by the child’s health care provider using the Health Department’s Online Registry, or via fax using an Asthma Referral Form (PDF). If HNP staff find environmental asthma triggers or other home health hazards in the home, they will work with the building owner to try to correct the problems. For more information, email NYCHNP@health.nyc.gov or call 311 and ask for the “Healthy Neighborhoods Program.”

  • Learn more about Childhood Asthma and Environmental Triggers (PDF)
    Other languages: [Español] [Русский]
  • Asthma Action Kit and Fact Sheets
  • Asthma Health Bulletin (PDF)
  • Trainings and Workshops

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