You probably clicked on this article out of sheer curiosity – or worse, you actually encountered a rat infestation while living in a city. Hoboken + Jersey City are having increasing problems with rodents, so much so that Hoboken is setting up rat baits all over town. Shayna Conde is a local Jersey City resident and writer for Hoboken’s Daughter. She was dealing with an ongoing rat infestation in her apartment building and gave H.G. a scoop on the tips and tricks she’s learned while navigating the outbreak.
When I first moved into my adorable one bedroom apartment in Jersey City Heights, I never imagined I would have to worry about rats running around my walls and ceiling. Although this is not uncommon in a city, I have learned the hard way that this can be a messy process. Having an unresponsive management company, I had to take matters into my own hands (with lots of trial and error). As there are growing stories of Jersey City and Hoboken residents struggling with various obtrusive and unfocused roommates – but let’s call them what they are – rats, I share my tips and tricks that have me helped get the legal help I needed to protect myself – and my money – during this live action Ratatouille. Here are some suggestions if you ever have to deal with a rat infestation in Hoboken or Jersey City – or anywhere, for that matter.
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- First, notify the building superintendent and building management company or landlord of the issue via email. The paper trail is important in case things are not handled well. If you don’t get a response within 24 hours, I’d say it’s safe to go a little further. If you can only text the building super, be sure to screenshot that message, just in case you need it later.
- Contact Jersey City or Hoboken housing authorities and the health department to let them know of the situation and of your efforts to contact building management. At the same time, follow up with the management company or property owner and let them know you are talking to these entities. It might scare them enough to help you with all your rodent roommates, but even if it doesn’t, it’s good to have a growing paper trail of your rat problem and try to get some help. assistance.
- Record everything. If you find rodent droppings, hear running through your walls, or even find rats in and around your living spaces, document it all, with videos and/or photos. Also, timestamp everything. The more detailed the information, the better.
- Use social media to connect with neighbors who might be having similar issues. This is where I was able to get most of the help I needed to really make a difference in my housing crisis. You might be wondering, “Which social media platform is best for finding this kind of help?” – and there is no right answer to that. I used TikTok because I have the most followers there, so I figured my questions and rants would get a bigger reach. Facebook is also a great resource — especially the Hoboken + Jersey City Insiders page. Another benefit of using social media is that all of your information is automatically timestamped through the app.
- Approach The Waterfront Project if you belong to the community that WFP helps. This is an amazing non-profit organization based in Jersey City that helps tenants with problematic landlord issues and more. The team helps anyone who earns less than 80% of the AMI (regional median income), the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities. If you don’t fall into any of these categories and you live in Hoboken, you can also contact the Hoboken Tenant Advocate – which you can find here — to receive free legal services.
- Talk to your neighbors. If you’re having this problem, chances are your neighbors are too. There is power in numbers, so try to encourage your neighbors to stand with you in solving rodent problems. This could mean that they also go to the building owner or management company – and your individual case may become more communal.
- Do not buy the Pest-A-Cator 2000 Plus at Home Depot. It’s a rodent repelling aid that’s supposed to emit a frequency that keeps rats away…it doesn’t work.
- Write two letters to your management company or landlord asking for extermination assistance. If that doesn’t work, before hiring an exterminator. Ideally, if you experience an infestation and your landlord’s exterminator services prove unable to fix the problem, your landlord will give you a “letter of assurance.” This letter would allow you to hire an outside exterminator to manage your infestation. My management company didn’t, however. Instead, The Waterfront Project and I worked to write two letters to my management company. The first was to let the company know that I was considering hiring an outside exterminator if the infestation was not under control. Then, after two weeks, I sent the following letter confirming that I was going ahead with an outside exterminator. After sending the second letter – ideally by certified mail or email, as you need to keep a written record – you can hire an outside exterminator without fear that your landlord or management company will successfully counterattack you. .
- Although I’ve tried contacting a few Jersey City-based extermination companies, one has been the most responsive so far. This company is Tapout Termite & Pest Control. They have excellent customer service and I highly recommend them. When I shared my situation with the rep, they were not only very understanding but also incredibly honest. Since the rodents in my ceiling are entering through massive holes covered by my drop ceiling, the rep said I would probably need a handyman to fix my ceiling properly more than an exterminator.
- The Tapout Termite & Pest Control rep mentioned that it’s not true if someone tells you a sealant or foam is “mixed with rat poison” and I believe him. My super “filled” the holes in my ceiling with a foam that was supposed to be mixed with rat poison and I heard rats eating it within 3 days of applying it.
- Although there are many pest control and extermination options in the JC + Hoboken area, I had a hard time getting in touch with some. The two companies that were the most responsive (in my experience) were Get’m Pest Control and Termite tapout and pest control. For Get’m Pest Control to process a standard apartment (rate based on the number of kitchens in the apartment, not bedrooms) it would cost around $200, and for a single-family home it would cost around $240. For Tapout Termite + Pest Control, the price will mainly depend on the type of animal/critter infesting your home. Whether you have an apartment or a single-family home, the price of treatment will be between $225 and $275. Tapout also provides 2 visits with your payment and a 30 day guarantee after the second visit to ensure the infestation is treated.
- I found a YouTube video that contains a frequency that keeps rats, mice, and all other rodents living in my ceiling at bay! It plays for 10 hours and it’s at a frequency barely detectable to human ears so you can sleep through the night without having to hear the crackle of little rat feet. here is the link.
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My story continues to unfold as I continue to battle my uninvited rat guests and my building, so be on the lookout for updates to this article with more tips and tricks for surviving a rat infestation.