Moving in New York City can be really stressful – especially in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is one of the most quickly-growing boroughs in all of the city, but it’s getting harder and harder to find a great, inexpensive apartment.
However, you shouldn’t just sign a lease for a new Brooklyn apartment as soon as you find one that fits your budget. If an apartment is being offered at a low price, there could be a reason, such as a pest infestation.
Out of all pest infestations in New York City, bedbugs are definitely the worst. These little critters can spread disease, cause you to break out in sores, and can be easily transported to other apartments via your skin, hair, and clothing. They’re also extremely difficult to get rid of – you may have to get rid of most of your stuff, or fumigate your apartment.
Because of this, it’s crucial that you check each apartment you look at for pests like bedbugs before you sign a lease and move – otherwise, you could get stuck in a really bad situation. To help you recognize and avoid bedbugs when you’re apartment hunting, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide. Take a look below.
1. Ask Your Prospective Landlord If The Building Has Had Bedbug Problems Before
If you’re thinking about moving to a new apartment building, the first thing you should do is ask the landlord or building manager about past bedbug infestations.
By New York City law, they must inform you if there has been an infestation anywhere in the building within the last 12 months – not just in the apartment that you’re interested in renting. If they refuse to do so, they’re violating the law – and you should walk away from the lease. You don’t want to risk a bedbug infestation.
Now, it’s important to note that just because the building has had bedbugs in the last 12 months doesn’t necessarily make it a bad choice – but you will want to be extra careful when checking out your selected apartment, and ensure that it’s bedbug free.
2. Get The Inside Scoop From Residents
It’s a good idea to talk to current residents of a building to get an idea of the overall cleanliness and quality of the apartments. Residents will tell you things that managers and supers won’t – because they’re not trying to sell you on their apartments.
So if you’re still not sure about moving into a particular building, don’t be shy – knock on a few doors, and ask some questions about the apartments. Was there a recent bedbug infestation? How long ago was it? How did management solve the problem?
Asking these questions is a very good way to determine the overall risk of bedbugs in an apartment building.
3. Don’t Be Fooled By Fresh Paint – This Doesn’t Mean An Apartment Is Bedbug Free
Bedbug infestations are usually pretty easy to notice, but some underhanded landlords may try to simply cover up an infestation, rather than address it with fumigation or other more expensive extermination services.
If the apartment you’re looking at has a fresh coat of paint, that may be a good sign – but it could also mean that the landlord was trying to cover up an infestation.
If you suspect that a newly-painted apartment may be hiding bedbugs, you should check the joints of the walls, ceilings, and baseboards. If each of these areas has been recently sealed by caulk, there’s a high chance that the apartment is infested – and that the landlord has simply tried to seal the bedbugs in the walls, and cover up the evidence.
4. Perform An Inspection Yourself
You can ask all the questions you want – but if you really want peace of mind when you’re moving to a new apartment in Brooklyn, you’re going to have to perform a bedbug inspection yourself. You’ll need 2 tools for the job.
- A flashlight (the LED on your phone will do nicely, in a pinch)
- An old credit card or playing card
During this process, you’ll be looking for 4 different things:
- Mature, living bedbugs – full-size male bedbugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed, and have oval, wingless bodies. Females are much smaller – about the size of a pinhead. Generally, you’ll find hundreds of bedbugs in one place, as they tend to congregate in one main area during the day.
- Excrement – Bedbugs feed on blood, so their excrement usually takes the form of large, rust-colored patches and stains.
- Bedbug skins – These are the molted exoskeletons of growing bedbugs. They will be the general size and shape of a living bedbug, but white and nearly transparent.
- Bedbug eggs – Bedbug eggs are small, white, and usually are laid in very large clusters that should be quite easy to see.
If the apartment you’re looking at is furnished, check out the furnishings. Open drawers and wardrobes, and comb through them carefully with your flashlight. Run your credit card over the surfaces – is there any evidence of bedbugs?
Mattresses are another great place to check. Flip the mattress over or remove it from the bed entirely, and look over the entire bed frame and mattress for signs of a bedbug infestation.
If the apartment you’re looking at is unfurnished, you can still easily find bedbugs, if they’re present. Bedbugs tend to hide behind walls and collect in dark places during the day, as they don’t like the light. You should check behind:
- Baseboards – Run your credit card underneath the gaps in the baseboard. Do you notice any signs of bedbugs?
- Closets – Check the walls and corners of closets for signs of bedbugs.
- Loose wallpaper – Bedbugs can climb underneath loose wallpaper and nest – check underneath any areas of loose wallpaper, if present.
- Power outlets – You need a screwdriver (and a bit of technical knowledge) to check behind power outlets, but these are prime locations for bedbugs, so it’s worth checking here yourself or asking your prospective landlord to remove the power outlet cover so you can have a look.
If you check all these areas and don’t find bedbugs, you’re probably in the clear. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – it’s well worth taking these steps to make sure your new Brooklyn apartment is bedbug free before you sign a lease and move.
Moving In Brooklyn? Need Local Movers? Contact Big Apple Moving Now!
If you’ve followed our above guide, you’ve probably found a great, bedbug free apartment in Brooklyn! But you still have to move your stuff – and in New York City, that’s no easy task.
So don’t rent a car or a truck – hire expert local movers from Big Apple Moving. Our local moving services are second-to-none in Brooklyn. We’ve been in business since 1979, and our professional movers have the experience that you need to make move into your new place quickly.
We can handle packing for you with our full-service local moving solutions, or just provide you with all the materials you’ll need to get your own stuff packed up.
We even offer storage services, so if you need a place to stash your stuff, we can provide an all-in-one solution. So don’t wait. Hire Big Apple Moving today, and get moved into your new apartment, hassle-free.