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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Impact of Garbage Scheduling Shift

Going to the rats. Complaints to 311 about rat sightings are now 60% higher than they were before the pandemic — and they’re at an all-time high since records were first kept in 2010. New Yorkers report seeing rats in subways, in parks, in restaurant sheds, under the hoods of their cars and, worst of all, in their apartment buildings. “The rats are practically the size of cats,” says one property manager who’s fighting an infestation at a co-op he manages in Harlem.


Help is on the way. A new rule scheduled to go into effect on April 1 requires building owners, including co-op and condo boards, to set out their garbage after 8 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. (Garbage in secure bins — a rarity in the city — can be set out after 6 p.m.) All garbage and recyclables must be set out by 12:01 a.m. on collection days. 


By moving the garbage set-out time forward four hours and increasing nighttime pickups, the city’s Department of Sanitation is hoping to reduce the time unsightly mountains of garbage bags sit on sidewalks — and in doing so reduce the hours they are available to the city’s large and growing population of rats. 


Evening shift. While the new rules have won the approval of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents doormen, porters, supers and other building staffers, there has been some pushback.


“I’m sure the Department of Sanitation means well, but this is going to turn daytime jobs into nighttime jobs,” says Peter von Simson, the chief executive at New Bedford Management, which handles about 150 properties, mostly co-ops and condos with nonunion staffs. “In smaller buildings where the super doesn’t live in the building, it’s really going to affect that guy’s quality of life. If you’re cleaning two or three buildings, you’re not going to get home before midnight.”

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