War on Rats: Updated DSNY Regulations to Keep NYC Clean

DSNY Regulations

Updated Adopted Rules as of December 1st

The Department of Sanitation just released the Notice of Adoption for the final rules. All the proposed rules detailed below the line are correct and have been adopted, but these are the changes made from public comments on the proposed rules.

Additions to the new rules:

  • The DSNY has amended the proposed rule to include designated recyclable paper set out without a container, provided that the paper is tied and bundled securely, in the categories of materials that must be set out by 6:00 p.m.. This change applies for both residential and commercial properties.
  • To enroll in the Multiunit Building Collection Program, an owner or their agent must submit an application to DSNY during the month of January. The DSNY will approve or deny them by March 1st, and enrollment will be effective April 1st. Buildings will have their enrollment automatically renewed each year unless they opt out during the annual program application period. The DSNY may terminate a building’s enrollment in this program at any time with 30 days notice if the building’s participation in the program constitutes a public nuisance or if the building fails to comply with the requirements.

Elements taken out/changed from originally proposed rules:

  • CHANGED: The program application period for the Multiunit Building Collection Program begins January 1 and ends January 31 of each calendar year.
  • REMOVED: The Multiunit Building Collection Program section saying all receptacles shall be removed before 9:00 p.m. on the day of collection, or if such collection occurs after 4:00 p.m., then before 9:00 a.m. on the day following collection.

On October 17, 2022, Mayor Adams and the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced new rules regarding trash and recycling aimed at reducing the city’s rat problem.  

The proposed DSNY regulations will change the required times for setting out trash, which the city hopes will reduce ongoing rat issues. That said, responses from NYC residents and professionals are mixed. We’ll share what the proposed rules are, how they came about, and details on Sanitation enforcement trends in NYC. 

Background on DSNY Violations 

Before we dive into the new rules, we wanted to share some data on Sanitation enforcement overall.  

DSNY violations represent a large percentage of OATH-related violations issued each year. We did a data deep dive (coming soon!), and here are the stats when it comes to sanitation-related infractions: 

Year Violation Count
2019 344,118
2020 176,965
2021 261,148
2022 (projected) 276,338

High counts and expected violation increases are why it’s so critical to understand the new legislation and rules, and avoid heavy enforcement.


New Legislation 

The City Council started things off by passing specific legislation aimed at NYC’s rodent issues. While we’re going to focus specifically on changes initiated by Intro 459-A, we wanted to share the below, so you had an idea of what prompted the newest proposed DSNY regulations:

Intro 414-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOMHM) to issue an annual report on the progress of rat mitigation in the various zones. The report will detail the existing and future rat mitigation measures in the zones. 

Intro 442-A ensures that prior to obtaining a permit for construction work that is subject to rodent extermination is issued, the person requesting the construction proves a licensed exterminator was hired to begin rodent extermination procedures.  

Intro 459-A requires that by April 1, 2023, the DOHMH establishes rat mitigation zones. It also says that the Department of Sanitation can choose the times buildings are required to take out their garbage and recycling for collection.  

Intro 460-A requires buildings that receive two or more rodent-specific housing maintenance code, or two or more rodent-specific health code violations start using approved rodent-resistant containers for the following two years. 


The Proposed Rules & What’s Next 

The new DSNY regulations go into effect April 1, 2023 for residential and commercial buildings, barring any changes made after the public hearing. There are different components of the new rules for each type of property. 

Reminder – what’s below is proposed and what may change. But if it doesn’t, here’s what you’ll need to do going forward. 

Residential Buildings 

Residential buildings have up to three options regarding trash disposal, each of which would substantially decrease the amount of time trash is on the curb: 

  • Place trash out after 6:00 PM in a secure container, and no later than 12:00 AM
  • Place trash out after 8:00 PM if putting bags directly on the curb, and no later than 12:00 AM
  • If a building has nine or more residential units, the property owner may opt in to a 4:00 – 7:00 AM set-out window instead. The opt-in period will run for the month of January each year, allowing DSNY to design quick and efficient routes that take effect April 1. 

Taken together, this means trash will sit on the curb for a fraction of the time it does currently. These rules would apply to recycling and curbside composting as well. 

Commercial Establishments 

It is important to note the difference between public and private establishments here. Commercial trash service may be provided from private waste companies rather than the DSNY directly. With that said, they are still required to comply with city regulations. 

Businesses pick one of the following: 

  • Place trash out after 8:00 PM if putting bags directly on the curb 
  • Place trash out one hour before closing in a secure container 

Under the new rules, businesses would place their trash out at 8 PM or afterwards (near closing time). For example, that could be roughly 10 PM, which would leave a shorter time-frame for trash to be left out given midnight pickups. The city hopes that the shortened time-frame between placing trash out and picking it up would lead to reduced rodent issues.

It’s important to understand how these proposed rules may impact everything from staff scheduling, existing processes, and other critical parts of your business. That’s especially true if there are no changes to the final adopted rules, and these are left in place as-is. We’ll let you know when the final rules are adopted, and whether or not the public comment period had any meaningful impact. 


Doing Your Part – How You Can Combat the Rat Problem 

Rats are a problem for residents, property owners, businesses and entire neighborhoods. Their gnawing and burrowing can cause damage and they can contaminate food, spread disease, lower the value of a building/unit, and reduce a resident’s quality of life. 

Rats seek out places to live that provide them with everything they need to survive – food, water, shelter and safety.  

In addition to city requirements, here are some helpful tips to keep your properties rodent-free:  

  • Clean up. Garbage and clutter give rats a place to hide and food to live off. Make sure the trash in front of your tenant buildings is sealed in rat-resistant garbage bags. 
  • Provide enough trash containers for all the occupants of your property. Any exposed garbage will attract rats. 
  • Maintain the landscaping around your buildings. Any tall weeds and overgrown shrubs close to the ground provide an ideal space for rats to live and nest. 
  • Check for cracks or holes in the foundation of your buildings, sidewalks and under doors and repair them by filling and sealing them—they give rats a direct entrance to your properties. Trash attracts them, and exposure to your property keeps them around and makes them even more of a pesky problem. 
  • Do not leave food for birds and other local wildlife because it will also attract undesired pests. 

These tips can help you continue to maintain the very best spaces for your residents and tenants. Of course, we’ll keep you posted on any DSNY regulations changes here, too 


You can read the full rule text here, as well as the public comments on them. The public hearing was held on November 18th, so we expect final rules to be released in the coming weeks. We’ll let you know as soon as they’re available. 

In light of the rat problems, the city is looking to hire a Director of Rodent Mitigation! To learn more or apply, visit the city’s website.

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About the Author

Erin Henry

Erin Henry is a Marketing Coordinator at SiteCompli. When she's not learning about the latest property ops trends, she can usually be found at the library reading a book.