Rat Prevention: Working in Your Community

Rats can be a problem for a single property, entire block or the whole neighborhood, so they require a coordinated response. Property owners, tenants, businesses and the City all need to work together to prevent rats.

Why Rats Are in Your Neighborhood

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.

Garbage and clutter give rats a place to feed and hide. For other shelter, rats like to build nests or burrows in the earth. To safely get around, rats prefer traveling along the same paths over and over, often using building foundations, walls, fences and bushes to find their way.

Neighborhood Rat Reduction Initiative

The Neighborhood Rat Reduction Initiative is an effort by the Health Department and several other City agencies to improve neighborhood sanitation by eliminating the food, water and habitat that rats need to survive. The initiative addresses the underlying conditions that support rat colonies, while also employing traditional rat control measures. By dramatically reducing the available habitats and food sources in targeted areas, the numbers of rats will decline.

The initiative launched in the summer of 2017, focused on Rat Mitigation Zones in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Use the Rat Mitigation Zones website to view data on rat complaints and NYC Health Department rat control.

What You Can Do

View rat inspection results and follow-up actions on our Rat Information Portal. Look up rat inspection history by address, borough, block and lot (BBL) number or by neighborhood.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Community District Managers, block associations, community groups and residents can work together to take actions to prevent infestation and respond to rats. Here is what you and your neighbors can do:

  • Clean up litter, as any exposed trash will attract rats.
  • Store garbage in hard plastic rat-resistant containers with lids.
  • Make sure all of the occupants in your building have enough trash containers.
  • Keep landscaped areas around your property free of tall weeds. Trim shrubs that are close to the ground.
  • Check for cracks or holes in the foundation of your building, as well as in the sidewalk and under doors. Repair cracks and holes by filling and sealing them.
  • Some BIDS sponsor new trash cans or extra trash pick-up.
  • Help keep parks, sidewalks and green streets clean and uncluttered by disposing of trash properly and sponsoring rat-resistant cans.
  • Host a free community training course on rat control in your neighborhood.

If rats continue to be a problem after taking these steps, consider hiring a pest management professional to service all of the properties or businesses on one block.

Additional Resources

More Information