Along with my March, 2010 rent check, I enclosed a slightly altered version of the following to my landlord:
“Is there an update on the rat situation? I suggested to my neighbors (those living in the 2 brownstones connected to ours) that our respective landlords might act cooperatively to bait and resolve, as I understand rats enjoy the easy commute between connected buildings. The only communication I have received from you is a rent increase.”
And here is the slightly abbreviated text I posted on buildings in January, at the start of Ratgate:
“NEIGHBOR TENANTS: In addition to the occasional mouse, I believe my building now also has rats. If we act cooperatively as tenants and between the various buildings, we’ll have a much better chance of fixing this problem.
“I am hearing their squeaking sounds under the floorboards. They are nocturnal, and when it becomes light in the morning, they go to sleep. I have alerted my landlord’s office; if you hear rats, please do the same. I’ve got my tape recorder and video camera ready to capture the sounds should it become necessary to provide proof.
“An infestation of rats is very serious – they carry disease and chew through electrical wiring. They are most likely sewer rats and travel through sewer lines & pipes and come up through the basement. There is road construction nearby that may have agitated them.
“I have cleaned up my kitchen and the only food left in my pantry is in cans or jars – cereal boxes, flour and pasta are now in my fridge since rats can smell and chew through that.
“IF YOU HAVE PETS – please feed them and put the food away when they’re finished, and wash their bowls. Leaving cat or dog food out all day is like ringing a dinner bell! If rat poison is placed in the basement, keep your pets in your apartment.
“If this infestation persists, I will not hesitate to repeatedly contact my landlord’s office, find an exterminator and call the housing authority. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Was this inflammatory? Was it too, too much? Within 3 days of posting this, my rent was raised (in a stabilized way) 2.3%. Perhaps it was just a coinky-dink.