renting in an apartment with a history?(6 posts)
Hi, thank you so much in advance for your help-- I've stayed up all night worrying and I don't even have any yet:
I live in New York City. My future roommate has found a huge, amazing, well-priced apartment that she describes as "perfect"-- brand new finishes, pre-war charm, etc, etc. Except that when I looked up the building address on the bed bug registry, it had two reports of bedbugs, one from December 2009 speculating that since they were still alive after 8 rounds of extermination, they must "be living in the walls", and another one from two days ago reporting a two-month infestation and complaining about the landlord's unresponsiveness. Both of these apartments are on the fourth floor; the apartment I'm considering would be on the second.
I'm meeting with the broker and my roommate tomorrow, and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable about the idea of living in a building so freshly affected, even if the apartment is as great as she says-- do you think my concerns are legitimate or will I sound hysterical if I insist on no? Doesn't every rental building in NYC pretty much supposed to have bedbugs? Should this be a dealbreaker?
Help! Thank you so much for your advice
Hi. There was a recent New York Times article where a lawyer said (paraphrasing) that every building in the city has had to deal with BB. I have a hunch that for large buildings, this is so (or will be, soon). So, it will be increasingly difficult to find a building that's never had bed bugs (at least in their current incarnation). What matters going forward is how the biding responds to the problem. The registry entries (while uncorroborated) point to a bad attitude by the landlord. We have a fresh thread where a member asked about moving into an apartment with an active infestation. I posted some links to historic threads where people realized too late that their landlords were lying and unsupportive.
I hope that this helps you weigh your options.
Personally, I wouldn't do it because the problem sounds deeply entrenched. I am personally moving out of my large building for that reason- looking for smaller buildings that have better odds of all of the tenants getting treated at the same time if there is a problem. BUT you should look your building up on the HPD website to see what the status of violations are. The problem may be more widespread in the building or confined to the 4th floor. Either way, double check as an addendum to the bedbugregistry to know about this and about any other building issues.
i'm not a new yorker, but I hope you don't mind if I weigh in. The reason it is well priced may be because they were having trouble finding tenants or keeping them, possibly because of bed bugs, or general poor maintenance. While bed bugs in New York are not uncommon, I agree that the problems could be exacerbated by lazy landlords. I'm not 100% sure how these things work in new york, but I would tell the broker that you would like to have some questions answered about how the landlords deal with bed bugs. if they don't have a proper plan in place, then run. A building with that many problems should be able to give you step by step details of how they manage these things. You could also just go to the building and knock on your future neighbours' doors. :o\ That may be kind of weird, but at least you'll get an uncensored answer.
I'm not in New York, but I live in Montreal and even though we pay rock bottom rents, excessively good deals deserve questions. lots of them. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons, but sometimes it is because they've had problems finding tenants or keeping them for one reason or another. The other thing, is that if the rent is cheap, it may draw a lot of younger, transient people who move a lot (my building is like this), which increases the risk of bed bugs, from what I understand.
I was in a situation similar to yours. I chose to take a chance on the apartment, and my life will never be the same.
The listings on the Bed Bug Registry were a little older and a little more vague than what you're describing, and my rationale for taking the apartment (besides being in love with it and being exhausted from the apartment search) was that I'd rather move into a building where they know what they're doing regarding bed bugs than one that had never experienced it before. I was led to believe that the situation was under control. I spoke to several tenants who said they'd been offered inspections, that the situation was scary but that management seemed to be on top of it, etc.
I moved in and within two weeks I found my first bug. It turns out that management had not been as "on top of it" as was claimed. I also learned that the apartment next to me was infested (and reported to management) and that so was the one on top of me (not reported to management). What followed was months of misery as I had my apartment treated several times (chemicals and dust only) and wrestled with management to try more effective treatments. I finally had to give up and move out.
Looking back, I should have known what a mistake this was: the previous tenants (who claimed to not have bbs) were suddenly breaking their lease after many years. (I was told they were going back to their home country; the mail they never bothered having forwarded indicated they were moving to midtown.) There was no broker fee. I was rushed through the "walk-through" the day I signed my lease. What an idiot I was.
The posts on the BB Registry indicate that management in your building is not on top of the problem. Additionally, the floor you're on matters less than what part of the building you're in. . . in my old building, one side was so unaffected they thought anyone who mentioned bed bugs was making it up, while the other side was painfully aware of what was going on. While you can't trust everything on the BB Registry and you also can't trust what ISN'T written on the BB Registry, in this case I'd move on. Good luck.
And here in NY, brokers lie. They lie because they want their fee. They will tell you whatever you want to hear regarding bed bugs. "Oh, yes, there was a problem, but not anywhere near YOUR apartment." "Oh, yes, there were bed bugs, but we hired a magical enchantress who whisked them away in her magical airtight unicorn and now they are gone."
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