Rats can be a problem for residents, property owners, businesses and entire neighborhoods. Their gnawing and burrowing can cause damage and they can contaminate food, spread disease and reduce our quality of life.
Rats seek out places to live that provide them with everything they need to survive: food, water, shelter and safe ways for them to get around. To keep rats out of your property or neighborhood, you and your neighbors can take steps to make life more difficult for rats:
- Clean up. Garbage and clutter give rats a place to hide.
- Rats eat your garbage, so store all garbage in hard plastic rat-resistant containers with tight fitting lids. Provide enough trash containers for all of the occupants of your property. Any exposed garbage will attract rats.
- Keep landscaped areas around your property free of tall weeds and trim shrubs that are close to the ground.
- Check for cracks or holes in the foundation of your building, sidewalk and under doors and repair them by filling and sealing them.
- On the street or in a park, put your litter in a can and do not feed birds or other wildlife.
To learn more about how you can help your community and the Health Department prevent rats, check out the pages listed below.
Rat Information Portal
Home and Community Prevention
- Information for Tenants and Property Owners: Property owners are legally required to keep rats out of homes.
- At home, learn how to keep pests out with:
- Working in Your Community: The most effective way to keep rats out of your neighborhood is through a coordinated effort, with residents working with local groups and businesses.
- Submit a Rodent Complaint Online Through 311: Include a description of the problem and the address of the location. Health Department inspectors can only inspect those parts of the property accessible to them. If the problem is in an area that is closed to the public, such as in an apartment, basement or backyard, include your contact information so that the inspector can schedule the inspection when you are there to grant access to the property.
- Inspection Terms and Practices: Get help understanding inspection reports, including common terms used in rat inspection data.
- Rat Indexing: The Health Department conducts rat inspections of all the properties in a targeted area and provides indexing maps showing local hot spots.
Information for Businesses and Pest Management Professionals
- Leptospirosis is not common in NYC. Rats are the main source of the bacteria that cause leptospirosis in NYC. You are at risk of infection if you live or work in an area with a severe rat infestation or that is contaminated with rat urine.
- Food Service Establishments: Owners and managers can review the best ways to keep rats away from businesses that sell food.
- Pest Management Professionals: Best practices for exterminators and other professionals to ensure safe and effective control practices.
- Pre-Demolition Rodent Extermination Certificate: The Department of Buildings requires the pre-demolition rodent extermination certificate before a demolition permit can be issued. Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, The Office of Pest Control is instituting a temporary self-certification program.
Training for Residents and Professionals
- Prevention Training (Rat Academy): Sign up for a free training course in rat management. We offer one-day courses for community members — including property managers, local businesses and gardeners — and more intensive three-day courses for pest control professionals.