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Mice in the Walls

Greenwich Village

Mice Infest
March 29, 2016

A co-op shareholder in Greenwich Village is experiencing an onslaught of mice in his apartment. Since the co-op board provides just a monthly exterminator visit, the shareholder hired his own pest-control pros. The mice just kept coming. If the mice are living in the walls, can the shareholder demand that the board take action?

“Old infrastructure often has lots of pathways between units, between floors,” Matt Frye, a Cornell University entomologist tells the Ask Real Estate column in The New York Times. “It’s all connected.”

Because the mice live inside the building, they’re the building’s problem. “Co-ops are responsible for addressing whatever falls outside the four walls of the individual apartment,” says attorney Andrew J. Wagner. This includes vermin.

By failing to address the infestation, the board could be violating the proprietary lease and city codes, and also breaching the warranty of habitability, a state law.

Mice can fit through a hole in the wall the size of a dime. But if you’ve had them visit your apartment, you know they can be a huge headache. Boards need to step up.

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