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I've had a rodent problem and want to sue my landlord for emotional trauma. Can you please help.

Bronx, NY |

Between the months of Oct. 2012 and January 2013 14 mice have been caught in my apartment. I reported this to the Dept. of Health. Apparently my building has a numerous amnount of violations because they didn't take to kindly to my report. Awhile back new cabinets were put in on one side of my kitchen leaving the other side with the rotted cabinets. I requested they finish the job because that's where holes were found from the mice. They did everything but that. In the interim my daughter and I have been traumatized by these disgusting rodents. We sleep with our doors closed and towels by the door, afraid to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, constantly cleaning droppings, shoes and food had to be thrown away and I was getting terrible headaches and missed time from work

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Attorney answers 2


Probably can't sue for emotional trauma; probably can sue for damaged items and breach of the lease.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -


Dear can I sue my landlord for emotional trauma?

New York limits the type of events that may trigger a claim of damages for emotional trauma, and your experience does not seemingly rise to the level of stating a cause of action for extreme emotional distress. You should visit an attorney and have a face to face conference where the attorney may review your housing experience and your medical records and look to see if a legally sufficient claim can be made.

Mice and vermin eradication is a responsibility of the landlord or owner or person in charge of a building in New York City as provided in the New York City Housing Maintenance Code ( a part of the New York City Administrative Code) and so, a landlord who does not comply with the legal obligations that go along with owning a building and having tenant, may be subject to fines and other penalties for failing to exterminate the mice and other vermin, and in failing to eliminate areas of the building where the mice and vermin have taken up residence.

The HMC provides at:
§ 27-2018 Rodent and insect eradication; mandatory extermination.
a. The owner or occupant in control of a dwelling shall keep the premises free from rodents, and from infestations of insects and other pests, and from any condition conducive to rodent or insect and other pest life.
b. When any premises are subject to infestation by rodents or insects and other pests, the owner or occupant in control shall apply continuous eradication measures.
c. When the department makes the determination that any premises are infested by rodents, insects or other pests, it may order such eradication measures as the department deems necessary..."

You may make a complaint to 311 to report the mice and other conditions in the apartment that require repair. The city may send an inspector from the Office of Code Enforcement to inspect the complained about conditions and to write up violations if required.

You may initiate your own lawsuit against the landlord for repairs in the New York City Housing Court in an HP Proceeding.

Read more about the tenant's right to sue a landlord for repairs in Housing Court at:

An interim remedy to ease the trauma is placing your own traps around the apartment. There are many different methods to trap mice, and in many of the new products, the homeowner may trap a mouse without needing to be exposed to the body of the captured animal.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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