Property owners are required (PDF) to keep their properties rat-free and address conditions that can lead to rats. They may have to hire a pest management professional when appropriate. Tenants can do their part by following our prevention tips below and promptly reporting rats to property owners, building managers or co-op associations.
If property owners are not fulfilling their legal requirement to prevent and manage rats and repair conditions that can attract rats, tenants can report the issue online or by calling 311. The Health Department will send inspectors to investigate the situation.
Learn more below about what you can do prevent rat infestation, or how you can drive them out if they have already settled in your home or property.
The best way to prevent rats from settling in your home and property is to carefully dispose of your garbage. Be sure to:
Make your home inhospitable to rats by attacking their favorite places to seek shelter and reproduce:
If you think rats may have invaded your home or property, follow these steps to find and remove them.
Be sure your pest control company is following our best practices and guidelines for preventing and managing rats.
Keep Them Out
Keep rats out by repairing property damage and sealing up cracks and holes in foundations, walls, floors, underneath doors and around windows. Necessary materials are inexpensive and available at hardware stores.
Be sure to collapse any earthen burrows, which may be covered by leaves, cobwebs or other debris with a shovel. Covering a burrow entrance with wood, cinder blocks or rocks will not keep rats out. Do not place broken glass or chemicals into a burrow.
Learn more about the specific maintenance steps you can take to close inactive burrows and seal small and large cracks and holes:
After a Health Department Inspection
If Health Department inspectors find signs of rat activity on your property, the property owner will receive a commissioner’s order by mail to fix the situation. The letter will include an inspection report detailing the findings, guidance on how to fix the problems and our contact information. Show the findings to your pest management professional.
About 10 days after an inspection, the Health Department will conduct a follow-up inspection. If the conditions have not been corrected, the property owner will receive a summons. You can appeal violations to the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
If a summons is not dismissed, it can lead to fines of between $300 and $2,000. The Health Department may provide rat management services on properties where the owner fails to do so. Property owners may be billed for this work.