July 26, 2023

Hoboken seeks to move forward with containerized garbage cans to mitigate rodent activity, additional updates on rodent mitigation efforts

Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla on rodent mitigation, as well as information on the new containerized garbage can ordinance under consideration by the City Council: 

Dear Residents,  

As Mayor, I know how important it is for City Hall to tackle every day, quality of life issues within our city. I write to provide this communication to you regarding rodent activity that some of our neighborhoods are continuing to experience and how we are continuing to adapt our approach to better address the issue.  

Please know that I share the understandable concerns and frustrations from residents, and that multiple departments in City Hall have been, and continue to actively work to mitigate this problem through a multi-faceted approach: 

  • Comprehensive Education, Inspection, and Monitoring: Our city's dedicated team of inspectors has been conducting regular surveys and assessments to identify rodent hotspots. These inspections help guide our targeted efforts towards the most affected areas. They distributed nearly 2,000 copies of our education materials in hot zones and continue to collaborate with property owners and business owners to curb infestations.   
  • Strengthened Waste Management: Effective waste management plays a crucial role in deterring rodents. In the coming weeks, we will be implementing a substantial change in our waste collection (if approved by the City Council), by requiring containerized garbage cans throughout the City for properties with 10 units or less (more about this change below). This will be an important way to limit access to food sources, as well as keeping our sidewalks clean.  
  • Integrated Pest Management: In collaboration with pest control experts, the City has already invested nearly $125,000 to curtail rodent activity on public property employing CO2, baits, and rodent birth control to reduce their population and prevent future infestations.  

In an urban environment adjacent to the river, the unfortunate reality is that rats will never be completely eradicated. We are not alone: other cities, including New York City, are grappling with similar issues of rat infestations since the pandemic as well. Nonetheless, we continue to use multiple tools in the toolbox to mitigate rodent activities as best as possible.  

I hope the comprehensive update below is helpful.  


Ravi S. Bhalla 

Containerized garbage cans to be required for properties with 10 or fewer units

To promote clean streets and to combat rodent activity and food sources, the City of Hoboken will seek to move forward with a new requirement of garbage containerization city-wide during a special City Council meeting on Aug. 3.  

The Hoboken City Council will consider an ordinance amendment proposed by the administration on second reading that will require all residential or mixed-use properties with 10 or fewer units, and all additional properties that do not have space constraints, to store trash in containers with a tight-fitting lid.  

If adopted at a special meeting, the ordinance will also require properties with greater than 10 units to utilize containerized garbage bins with fitted lids, unless there are space constraints prevent the landlord or property owner from doing so. In this case, disposable garbage bags must be used that utilize rodent repellent and at least 1.1 mil thick, or if the garbage bags do not have rodent repellent, the bags must be at least 3 mils thick. If disposal plastic bags are utilized, the garbage must be stored indoors between collections.     

Tightly fitted lids required on containerized garbage cans

Additionally, all containerized garbage cans will be required to be kept tightly closed with a properly fitting lid at all times, including when stored between collections and most importantly, when placed at the curb for collection.  

Specifications of new containerized garbage cans:  

  • No larger than 32 gallons  
  • No smaller than 10 gallons  
  • Constructed of material capable of holding garbage without leakage or spillage  
  • Less than 50 pounds when full  
  • Tightly fitted lids connected to the container  
  • House or lot number displayed at least six inches tall  

Food establishments can utilize covered storage bins but should contact recycling@hobokennj.gov to ensure that the bin will fit within the boundaries of the property and the City’s garbage contractor will pick up the garbage from the bin.

City to explore purchase of containerized garbage cans

The administration is currently exploring options to purchase a large quantity of containerized garbage cans for limited distribution to property owners in the coming months.  

Regulations apply to businesses

All businesses, including food and beverage establishments, including those within Hoboken’s business districts located in properties with 10 or fewer units, will also be required to abide by the new containerized garbage regulations, if adopted.  

Private property extermination and enforcement

The Hoboken Health and Sanitation departments have been working on additional extermination, pest control, and sanitation initiatives to combat rodent activity.  

The Hoboken Health Department and the City's Sanitation Division are monitoring reports of rodent activity, and conducting surveys in neighborhoods where such reports are made. The Sanitation Division has issued over 496 summonses in the last three months for garbage out at the wrong time, wrong day, garbage or litter on property, weeds, and no lids on cans. The Division has also issued 115 violation notices for no lids on cans and weeds during that same time period. Over the last three months, the Hoboken Health Department has also issued approximately 60 violation notices to property owners. 

The City has also distributed educational materials to over 1,000 properties with high rodent activity to help educate homeowners on best practices including how to eliminate rodent food sources and habitats. If you have questions, please contact ratreport@hobokennj.gov. 

As part of ongoing efforts to mitigate rodent activity on private property, the City Council adopted an ordinance amendment at a special meeting on July 24 that provides the City additional tools for rodent mitigation on negligent private properties.      

Property owners are responsible for pest and rodent control on private properties. Currently, property owners are given 14 days to arrange for rodent baiting or pest control services after notifications by City inspectors that their property requires pest control service. With the new amendment, this compliance window will be reduced to seven days. If the required work is not completed within the timeframes specified in the ordinance, the City will have the ability to carry out the necessary measures with an extermination company and seek reimbursement from the property owner. If the property owner does not reimburse the City, the City will have the ability to put a lien on the property until full payment is received.     

Citizen rodent reports

To streamline services in City Hall among multiple departments, residents can now report rodent infestations via email at ratreport@hobokennj.gov. Residents should include the exact address of the infestation, along with their contact phone number and any additional details and pictures, if available.  

Public property pest control continues

In the summer of 2022, the City introduced a comprehensive rodent mitigation approach which has since been bolstered by a new contract with pest control experts at Paramount Exterminating.      

Through this contract that was approved by the Hoboken City Council, the City has spent over $125,000 on rodent mitigation including the baiting of public property including rain gardens, parks, and sewer catch basins, using a variety of methods including CO2 in active rate burrows and rodent birth control products.   

Additionally, the City collaborates with utility companies including the North Hudson Sewerage Authority and private contractors to execute rodent control on construction sites and other projects.   

Rodent control via Hoboken’s Engineering and Construction offices

On construction sites within the City of Hoboken, Hoboken Engineering and Construction Code officials require rodent control before construction mobilization and site disruption begins, throughout the work duration, and until all equipment and materials are removed.  

As part of the road opening or building permits process, contractors must show written proof of a pest control contract with a licensed pest control operator. This operator must document preconstruction rodent activity and sanitation measures on both the proposed work site and observable areas nearby; install treatment such as bait boxes at the site perimeter and trailer/storage locations; bait the subsurface of manholes if utility work is included; and conduct weekly inspections for sanitation conditions and rodent activity.  

The construction contractor must also maintain inspection and treatment records and the treatment shall be adjusted to match construction sequencing. Maintaining Contractors shall also provide and use rodent-proof refuse containers, conduct site cleanup for litter daily, properly contain refuse, and remove unnecessary debris piles and control weeds and other undesirable vegetation.  

Outdoor dining/parklets

The administration will be putting forward additional rodent control measures for businesses that utilize parklets for outdoor dining. The proposed measures include additional maintenance of outdoor dining areas, including washing spaces underneath the parklets, regularly scheduled extermination inspections and treatments, and other measures that will be placed before the City Council for consideration.  

Responsible agent ordinance

Recently, the City adopted a new policy requiring every residential building to provide a responsible agent who is an individual with a business office that is located in New Jersey. The registered agent must be filed with the Hoboken Department of Environmental Services.  

This is necessary due to a number of properties that were issued violations and summonses by various departments in City Hall, including Health and Sanitation, that often were undeliverable when sent to the property, due to the lack of a contact person. As a result, violations at times were not always addressed in a timely fashion. With the adoption of this new ordinance, violations and summonses will be issued to the responsible agent, who will be responsible for addressing the City’s notices. No permits will be granted to a building that utilizes a property management company if the property has not provided a responsible agent contact to the City.  

FAQ on managing rodents in Hoboken  

For more detailed information on the City of Hoboken's rodent mitigation initiatives and how property owners can contribute, please visit www.hobokennj.gov/faqs/how-can-we-mitigate-rodents-in-hoboken.