Renters Speak: The Cockroaches of Central Park

Despite the great response we got from our request for bad rental experiences, we can’t get enough horror stories about awful living situations—especially ones in New York.

Dave A. writes:

My girlfriend (now my wife) and I were living in Manhattan and decided to move in together. I wasn’t too particular about where I lived, but she was – doorman building in a nice neighborhood and near Central Park. After many weekends of searching thru the NYTimes classified we find a huge 620 square foot 1 bedroom (not a studio) apartment on 66th and Columbus right near Lincoln Center and 1 block away from Central Park. This huge space was renting for the $1451.50 per month. What a bargain – more than $2 per square foot per month.

As part of the lease, you had to fork over 1st months rent, and 2 months security deposit. Not a small amount of cash for two mid-twenty-somethings not making a ton of cash, but the place was in a nice building with a great view looking south, you could even see Lady Liberty on a clear day. And the most fantastic part of it was that, for free, they threw in millions and millions of cockroaches infesting the entire building. No charge for pets, wow, what a deal.

So we complain to the super, and they do a bug bomb of our apartment. Wow, miraculously all the roaches disappear…for a day or so. Then, our neighbors, who now have twice as many roaches as before, complain to the super, and he bombs their apartment. Next thing we have All of our roaches back, but our neighbors roaches too – and they refused to pay us for pet-sitting them. How rude! This goes on for a few months, roaches back and forth. It got so bad at times that when you flipped on the lights in the kitchen (if a corner of an apartment can be called a kitchen, that, I swear, the roaches looked at as a gave us the finger and said “Lights don’t frighten us, give us your crumbs.” So we can’t take it anymore and decide that we need to leave NYC. Well say goodbye to our 2 months security deposit. Hello becoming a family of gypsies. These roaches were so bad, that I had a couple of iguanas in a large tank in the apartment, the roaches infested the tank and were living among the igs, even getting into the cracks in the large pieces of wood in the tank. After moving out, I soaked that wood in a bleach/water solution for a few days, figuring this will kill them. A few days later, roaches, literally, coming out of the wood(work). That story still gives us the willies and feelings of longing for that lost $3000.