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Board Talk: A Conversation About Pest Control Policy

A Conversation About Pest Control Policy

Anonymous: Our board of directors has just issued a notice to all shareholders threatening to increase our monthly maintenance bill by $100 a month unless and until we agree to let the pest control people spray pesticide in our apartments. We have no rodent or pest problems in our apartment and have never signed up to have it sprayed. The program has until now been voluntary but now they are insisting on building-wide compliance with their request. I am allergic to any chemicals including perfumes let alone toxic pesticides. Can they enforce this on us on a mandatory basis? If so, what are our legal rights?

BN: Why not let the vendor hired by the board of directors (BOD) to treat the building for bugs/mice into your apartment and let them inspect to put the BOD mind at rest. There is a good chance that other shareholders are having problems and it is the corporation’s responsibility to at least make best efforts to ensure all shareholders have a pest-free home. Chances are if one shareholder has a problem, many more do and may not be aware of it. We had that happen in our building – some seniors couldn’t hear the mice or see the droppings. Exterminators know where to look for signs of pests that you may not be aware of. We had them. It seems to me, the BOD is acting in good faith and you should help them do their job without injuring your health.

C/CS: Was a specific reason stated for the new policy? Are you aware of a pest problem anywhere in the building? Is this a one-time treatment, or will regular visits to each apartment be required? Do you happen have a new pest control company?

Seems that the fine is the lesser of your concerns. The best test of whether this is a legitimate, good faith effort to ensure the building is pest-free is to ask the board if they’ll allow you to instead have your apartment treated – at your expense – by a licensed vendor of your choice? If yes, you can hire a “green” firm and pursue organic or non-pesticide options.

If the board refuses, it’s time to be suspicious and dig deeper...because the attempt, apparently sudden, to impose a $100 fine each month on non-compliant shareholders is suspicious...even if legal. Because we don’t have enough information to presume that the board is acting in good faith. Because I’ve seen similar tactics used in other buildings. One, for example, had a large fiscal incentive for the board to have apartments treated, even where there was no evidence of a pest problem.

More questions need to be asked and answered before concerned shareholders can be comfortable with the board’s course of action.


Escape From Yonkers: Does it state that there is an additional charge for select shareholders in the proprietary lease?

I doubt it.

They could probably raise everybody by $100. But not some. Do not let them in to spray if you have allergies, even with the financial threat.



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