What do you do if your neighbors are attracting pigeons?

Many condos and co-ops in New York City are adjacent to or even share buildings with businesses such as grocery stores or restaurants. Where there's food, there are often pigeons that leave droppings and build nests to start a family.

Aside from the droppings, which can interfere with your residents' quality of life, pigeons often attract rats and other vermin to your courtyard or other outside areas. Before you know it, you could be facing health code violations, even if you're not contributing to the problem. According to one Manhattan real estate lawyer, "The mere presence of pigeon droppings…is an unsanitary condition."

Even when a co-op or condo board takes action themselves and hires a pest control service, the problem will likely continue unless the business that's attracting the unwanted critters takes steps on its own property.

Many boards try to resolve the issue by contacting NYC311, which provides non-emergency city services. However, this isn't always the most efficient way to deal with a problem. Notifying the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene may get you quicker action, particularly if the business involved sells or serves food.

It's important to document the situation (bird droppings, rats and so forth) before cleaning up the area. You should also keep track of any contact with the people who own the business and/or the building as well as all contacts with city authorities and pest control expenses.

Sometimes these cases can be resolved if the co-op or condo board splits the cost of the exterminators with the building owner. However, if you're having no success in getting any cooperation, it may be wise to contact your attorney for guidance.

Source: New York Times, "How Can a Co-op Shoo Away a Pigeon Complaint?," Rhonda Kaysen, Dec. 10, 2016