Monday, June 8, 2015

Letter to Tenants (June 6, 2015)

RE: Ongoing Bed Bug, Rat, and Rat Mite Infestation

Dear Fellow Tenants,

We write to you out of concern for your safety and our community due to the bed bug, rat, and rat mite infestation in the building.  To our knowledge, at least 13 apartments in the building have been infested with either bed bugs, rats, or rat mites in the last month.  As of this morning, our building has 101 open housing and maintenance code violations issued by NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)—including bed bugs and rats.  Of these 101 violations, HPD deems 13 to be “immediately hazardous” and 72 to be “hazardous.”  Many tenants have already vacated the building as a result of the insufferable infestations in their apartments and a lack of urgent response from Birchwood Properties.  Birchwood Properties has already begun renting the apartments vacated due to the infestation to unsuspecting new tenants.

While Birchwood Properties wrote in their letter dated June 2, 2015 that they “have engaged Select Exterminating,” their approach has not been adequate to eradicate the bug infestation.  The extermination process has proceeded in a piecemeal way, spraying apartments here and there with pesticide; this method simply pushes the bugs to other apartments and spreads the bug infestation.  We believe it will require a building-wide fumigation to eradicate the bugs and keep everyone safe.

Furthermore, Birchwood Properties wrote in their letter dated June 2, 2015 that “we have had no complaints from the building of insect bites since last Friday.”  Publicly available information from HPD shows this statement to be false:  (1) 311 complaints were reported to the city for pests on June 1 and June 5 in different apartments, and (2) 4 housing and maintenance code violations, 3 for bed bugs and 1 for rats, issued by HPD on May 23 and 24, 2015 have yet to be certified by HPD as repaired by Birchwood Properties.  Details on the points above can be found by following the instructions below.

For a complete list of open violations and 311 complaints at 114 E.1st Street, go to the link below, click “Manhattan” in the dropdown menu for boro, type in housing number "114" and street "east 1 street"; on the next screen, click "All Open Violations" or “Complaint History” on the left side.

Please email and go to to receive regular updates on the situation.  Please continue to notify both 311 and Birchwood Properties of any pest issues you experience.  We need your help to keep our community safe.

Thank you very much for your continued support, and be well.

Warmest regards,

Tenant Coalition for 114 E.1st Street


  1. Thank you for posting this! We noticed that Verson Building Services seems busy tearing down our leaflets communicating our situation to other tenants.

  2. I first emailed Robert Spitalnick and Verson Building Services on May 12th about getting bitten. It's been almost a month now. I still get bites. The Birchwood Properties letter does not even mention rat mites or bed bugs! I am not surprised that so many tenants lost their confidence that the building will ever be adequately treated and left their apartments in recent days.