You might have rats in your NYC storage unit


Just how safe is your stuff in self-storage? Specifically, how safe is it from gross rodents?

Even with insurance, you won’t recover much moola if mice and rats end up reproducing inside the cushions of your grandmother’s couch.

The internet is filled with sad stories like that of physicist and author Safi Bahcall and his wife, who tucked away their furniture for nine years while paying Public Storage hundreds of dollars each month. When the couple was finally getting ready to move to Washington, DC, they claim they went to their unit in Boston and found “dead mice.”

“The mice had done their business all over our stuff, which reeked,” he wrote in an August LinkedIn post, which received more than 500 likes and about 25 shares. “Chewed through. Made nests. Painful sight. Gross smell. No way we could raise our kids bouncing on those couches and chairs.”

Bahcall, who also included a photo in that post of a dead mouse, as well as others showing mouse droppings, says he had purchased insurance from a company that Public Storage recommended — which turned out to be a wholly owned subsidiary known as Orange Door, but the conversation didn’t go as he had hoped.

Be sure to keep regular check of your storage unit to examine for any presence of rodents.
Be sure to keep regular check of your storage unit to examine for any presence of rodents.
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In the same post, he appears to summarize his conversation with the claims agent, writing, “Me: Mice ate all our furniture. The policy brochure says $5,000 coverage. So what do we do next?”

“Claims person: Actually our policy has a vermin exception. If vermin eat all of your stuff you get $250! Sorry about your home! Have a nice day!”

Bahcall, who declined The Post’s request for comment, is not alone.

Across the country, rats and mice have been nesting in stowed belongings from Rhode Island to Kentucky and even Dallas.

New York City, home to way too many rats, has reported issues of infestations in storage facilities.
New York City, home to way too many rats, has reported issues of infestations in storage facilities.
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New York City has not been spared. There are hundreds of storage spaces in the Big Apple with rodents taking bites out of several of them.

Cross-checking addresses with the city’s rat map, The Post found most facilities had not even been inspected in years.

A Public Storage location in Brooklyn at 1534 Utica Ave., aka 4900 Glenwood Road, seems to have a cheesy history. Rats were first spotted there in 2012, but the city didn’t take another look until 10 years later — on April 21, 2022, according to city records. Bait was also applied in both May and July.

The city’s Rat Information Portal shows that location as a bright magenta — that color meaning rat activity at last inspection — and is an easy way to see if neighboring buildings or parks are infested or have mousy occupants that could easily move their mischief. Properties shown in dark gray may not have been inspected in the last six months but could have a long history of rodents with a bad reputation.

"Inside Edition" examined a U-Haul storage facility for rodents last year.
“Inside Edition” examined a U-Haul storage facility for rodents last year.
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The TV show “Inside Edition” even rented a U-Haul storage space in New York City last year and tossed in a few glue traps — which did their job with a dead rodent immediately visible inside when the crew returned a couple weeks later to survey. The same “Inside Edition” show rented a Public Storage space, but found no rodents there.

U-Haul did not return calls and emails from The Post, but told “Inside Edition” they “proactively guard against pests in all their facilities and take preemptive measures including hiring pest control companies and sanitizing the storage units every day.”

Although “Inside Edition” did not identify the specific location, in November of 2019, the city identified “rat activity” at the Park Slope U-Haul at 394 Fourth Ave. and applied bait as recently as April of 2021, records show.

Another U-Haul location in The Bronx at 383 Grand Concourse was not cited by the city, but in January a customer wrote, “While the facility is very clean and well run NYC rodents are still a problem. I only saw one during a visit, there are many visible traps around.” Leaving it four stars in her review, Francine J. continued, “I can honestly state that my belongings (stored for six months) were not at all effected (sic) by them. And, I checked to make sure. The facility does make sure that you are not leaving garbage or storing food or other inappropriate materials.”

Certain city CubeSmart locations also have reported rat presences.
Certain city CubeSmart locations also have reported rat presences.
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If you have insurance, be sure to read the fine print to see if there's coverage for rodents.
If you have insurance, be sure to read the fine print to see if there’s coverage for rodents.
Getty Images

A different city player, CubeSmart, had rats at its joint at 74 Bogart St. in Brooklyn both in January and March, according to the city’s public rat portal records. Its 30-25 Northern Blvd. building in Queens had the pesky creatures in November while bait was applied in December.

CubeSmart’s rules and regulations specify you can’t store items with a total value of over $5,000 unless the owner has consented in writing to the higher value. The rules also highly recommend insurance, which doesn’t cover ravenous rodents or other calamities.

Certain homeowner and rental apartment insurance policies may cover your stored items but each company has limitations and exclusions, so always read the fine print.

Storage facilities are certainly not the only places with vermin running rampant. The city’s open data reporting system registered 205 rat complaints called into 311 just on Monday August 22 – and it takes time for inspectors to follow up. On August 28 there were 86 calls made to 311 for rodents.

Along with leaving gross odors, rodents can also spread diseases like salmonella, leptospirosis and hantavirus, transmitted to humans when urine, droppings or nesting materials from mice are stirred up into the air. Aside from being gross, rats can carry the fleas that spread the bubonic plague — something that so far, is not on our 2022 Bingo Card.

None of the other storage companies returned calls or emails for comment.



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