Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

Vermin continue to plague Queens apartment

Most of us get creeped out at the thought of sharing living space with mice, rats and roaches. Yet, despite the "ick factor," one Queens family has been forced to live among the vermin in their Queensbridge House apartment.

Inside the apartment, cockroaches skitter across the floors and up the walls of every room. Look up and you see them above. Look down, you spot them darting across the floor. They have invaded the kitchen cabinets and drawers. They rush out of the oven once it's turned on. One was even photographed on the nipple of a toddler's sippy cup. Others crawl around inside a newborn's crib.

There are also mice chomping on electrical wires, causing dangerous fire hazards. Mouse droppings can be found all over the apartment no matter how many times the family cleans. They discovered a dead rat in a closet.

They also must cope with fetid, black water bubbling up from the sink and the bathtub drain. It reeks of raw sewage and has erupted like a spewing volcano from the toilet. The family laid a towel at the bottom of their bathroom door to keep the nasty water from seeping into the hall.

Yet, that's how the family of 11 — two parents and nine kids ranging in age from two months to 19 years — have lived since the summer of 2016. That's when the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) told them their apartment's problems had been "fixed." "Everywhere. In the clothes. In the closets. Everywhere."

The family buys Raid by the case at $5.19 per canister. But their pest control efforts don't make a dent in the vermin and roach problem.

Back in June of 2016, Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer wrote a letter to the chairwoman of the NYCHA, noting the family's "apartment is infested with mice and roaches." He also listed other problems, including:

  • Chipped plaster a child ingested
  • Hazardous electrical outlets
  • Collapsing ceilings

NYCHA relocated the family to a hotel for a couple of weeks while repairs were allegedly made. Within weeks, the vermin were back in force and have yet to be eradicated.

If you face similar problems in your housing situation, you need to know and understand your rights as a tenant. You may be eligible for compensation for any damages.

Source: New York Daily News, "Queens family’s home infested with roaches, rodents — after NYCHA claimed it fixed issues," Greg B. Smith, Jan. 20, 2018

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