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“My street is having a major rat issue because neighbors airbnb guests are leaving open trash bins on sidewalk.”

by Prince Of Petworth October 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm 56 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

My street [1100 block of M St, NW] is having a major rat issue because neighbors airbnb guests are leaving open trash bins on sidewalk. Any advice/help?”

I’d also be curious to know if others have experienced difficulties living next to near Airbnb guests?

  • anonymous

    Strange that the actual airbnb guests are doing this. I have been a host as well as guest and as a guest, I just made sure that all the trash was put in trashcans before I left. It is up to the host to clean the apt and place the trash outside. It might be the cleaning company, assuming airbnb hires someone else to do the cleaning. The host might not even know this. Have you tried contacting your neighbor?

    • Anon Spock

      I’m pretty sure its up to the host to handle cleaning whether it’s dig or hired cleaners. I also agree it would seem strange that it be airbnb guests.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      I have stayed at numerous airbnb places where the guests were required to put the trash outside in trash bins , and if it was a week long rental, put the trash bins out for collection on a specified day. They may also have people renting the house to throw a party, so there could be a huge amount of trash for a short stay.

  • Mamasan

    I live about a block away, and with no trash on the sidewalk, we’re still having this issue. The rats were displaced from the multiple large construction projects, including the new Marriott complex at L and 9th Streets, where they’re now digging down several levels to create underground parking. Additionally, 12th Street and Massachusetts had a huge problem, especially across Mass by the elementary school, so they’ve done some rat abatement there which may be pushing them north. I think you should contact the neighbor and let them know about the open trash containers, but the rat issue in the neighborhood is coming from multiple causes.

    • Andie302

      We live elsewhere in Shaw and are also having a HUGE problem with rats. We’re all diligent about our trash but the rats have literally chewed holes in the cans. They are ruthless and plentiful. At night they can be seen clearly walking on the sidewalk, even when approached within a couple feet. Stupid rats!

      • Contessa of Cleveland Park

        Actually, no, smart rats!

  • Anon

    Yes! We have the same problem with the four airbnb rentals in a unit near us on the Hill and don’t know what to do. Is there anyway to turn in negligent airbnb landlords?

    • This is Awkward

      Ever considered speaking with your neighbor before you try to anonymously get him/her in trouble with the law or building management?

      • Hill Denizen

        So I’m normally all about just speaking directly with a human, but one wrench that might get thrown in is if the owners are actually rarely there. How would you go about contacting them if you don’t have a phone number/email?

        • Joel

          People can rent the apartment on AirbnB? Contact them through that site letting them know you’re a neighbor and ask for a better contact email/phone.

          • Accountering

            This is a good idea.

          • Hill Denizen

            Aaaaa, that’s pretty clever, assuming the exact address is in the listing. (I can’t remember if they include exact location).

        • C_petworth

          mail them a letter. They most likely receive some mail at the house.

      • Anon

        I’ve never seen or met the neighbor. This isn’t a case where someone is listing their English basement on Airbnb – it’s all the units in the building.

        • FridayGirl

          That’s ridiculous.

        • So basically, they’re operating a hotel. How does the city handle permitting or licensing this kind of thing?

        • Bryan

          This is most likely illegal. I would probably contact the city government in this case because THEY are the type of bad AirBnB renters that give it a bad name and piss off renters.

      • dcrez22

        How do you contact a neighbor that is never home, or that you’ve never seen? I looked up the owner’s name and this is what I found on OTR’s website. Looks like the property just sold in Jan 2016…

        Lot Premise Address Owner Name Neighborhood

        0314 2010 1107 M ST1/2 NW 1107-2 M STREET LLC OLD CITY II

        • textdoc

          Ugh. The ever-popular LLC, which shields the actual identity of the owner(s).

          • On Capital Heels

            To find out who the members in the LLC are, run a search on the webpage below. At the very least, you should be able to find the contact info for the initial member/owner who created the LLC. (P.S. It’s annoying that you have to create an account to use the DCRA site, and the site’s functionality is straight out of 1992, but you’re likely to find something helpful.)


        • ZetteZelle

          Pull up the property record and click on “View Current Tax Bill.” You won’t get a name, but you will get the mailing address that the bills are mailed to.

  • This is Awkward

    Curious if OP has actually *seen* the AirBNB guests doing this or is just presuming (people really like to blame AirBNB for lots of things not caused by it/hosts/guests). I pretty much exclusively use AirBNB when I travel and have never taken trash to the curb. The closest to this I was ever asked to do was taking any bottles to the downstairs bodega for recycling/cash in when I was in Montreal. Normally you just make sure all the trash is in the right bins inside the house/apt, and the host takes care of the rest.

    This definitely seems more like a talk to your neighbor about how they handle their trash thing.

  • C_petworth

    Have you talked to your neighbor about the issue?

  • egebergh
  • jaybeas

    I would suggest contacting Airbnb (http://www.airbnb.com/neighbors has a form you can fill out that raises concerns both to the owner and Airbnb). If you want to go nuclear, you can check to see if they have a BBL (unlikely), and if they don’t, DCRA can investigate.

    We’ve been dealing with a nuisance Airbnb next door to our house, and the owner is absent and non-responsive, so we’ve filed several complaints with Airbnb and are now getting DCRA involved. DCRA is supposedly investigating the property.

  • Danielle

    I don’t know what is causing it, but I walked by these overflowing bins last night at around 11, and the scurrying rats were everywhere! It was really spooky, and I’m not new here.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    One solution would to be to purchase several dozen snakes to help keep the neighborhood safe. I’d get a few more than you think you need in case some get hit in traffic. You can buy snakes online “at absolute rock-bottom prices” here:


  • textdoc

    You can also report overflowing trash cans to the sanitation-enforcement arm of DPW. They consider the overflow to be “uncontainerized trash.”

    • eggs

      Hahahahaha oh DC. Of course it can’t just be “not contained”.

      • textdoc

        I dunno. “Not contained trash” sounds sort of like “a very against police judge.”

      • textdoc

        But maybe you meant “Trash not contained”?

  • Anony

    Pretty much all the cans in my alley have holes chewed through them. I hadn’t seen this until the past year or so. Have the city’s rats evolved? It seems unless they fix that problem (metal cans or stronger bins) this rat problem will only get worse

    • textdoc

      Unfortunately, D.C. residents receiving city trash pickup are stuck for the time being with the “Toter” brand plastic bins that not only can be chewed through, but also can’t be closed securely. (There’s no latch.)
      I always wonder who it was in DPW who got kickbacks for selecting a brand/model of trash bin that expressly fails the single most important directive from the Department of Health’s rat abatement team — i.e., that trash should be put in bins with “tightly fitting lids.”

      • textdoc

        On the lids not being sufficiently secure: After an incident (not long after I moved into my house) where I opened the kid of my trash bin and a rat jumped out, bounced off my arm, and ran into the alley, I keep bricks on top of my trash and recycling bins at all times except when they’re out in the alley for pickup.

        • AJ

          I live pretty far north and near RCP. I’ve kept a brick on top for years to keep other animals out. I’ve always thought the Totters were preferred because of the dumpster-style auto open and close once they were put on the lift. I couldn’t imagine all the broken latches or misplaced lids with other designs.

          • textdoc

            “I’ve always thought the Totters were preferred because of the dumpster-style auto open and close once they were put on the lift.”
            Hmm, that’s a good point… although in my neighborhood, the garbage men never put the trash bins on the truck’s lift thing; they just lift the bags out by hand. Which means you can’t put in any small bags, because they won’t deign to reach down to the bottom to get them out.

    • TJ

      Why wait on the city? I’ve placed my trash in metal cans under the porch for over a decade until the night before/morning of collection. No rat sightings in my back yard since shortly after doing so. The supercan also doesn’t have the rat nibble, unlike others in the alley.

      • textdoc

        Yeah, but unfortunately that requires residents to be proactive and to purchase cans at their own expense, and a lot of people simply don’t care or can’t be bothered.
        I was stunned when a guy in my neighborhood seemed to think that rats were the inevitable result of having shrubs (!), and didn’t seem to see the connection between readily available trash and a thriving rat population.

  • Andie302

    I suspect this is a cleaning company and not the guests (unless the host has specifically asked guests to put their own trash out, which would be unusual). I also suspect that the cleaning people don’t know just how much of a problem they are creating because they are only there during the day. If they knew, I would hope that they would be asking the host to get more cans.

  • SteveInLogan

    I live on the 1200 block of O Street and I will agree with what some others have said: the rats in this area are out of control. DC’s rat abatement folks came over to check it out and they couldn’t really do much because we didn’t have any actual rat holes on our property for them to fill with poison. We just have the rats visiting but they seem to be nesting elsewhere.

  • Expat

    My rat abatement idea: develop rat food/poison that wouldn’t kill them (or be harmful to dogs/cats/sidewalklickers) but would sterilize them. Sprinkle it in all the alleys in the city. BAM. No more rat babies. I should have payed more attention in chemistry.

    • Accountering

      This is nuts. They are a vermin that carries disease, trash, dig huge holes in peoples property, and are generally just disgusting. You want to sterilize them? This has to be satire… right?

      • TJ

        Not necessarily a fan of of this plan, but if this brilliant idea were carried out and managed to sterilize all of the rats in the city, they would eventually die out.

    • Tinkerer

      Such a thing exists! There was a great article in the Guardian about it recently: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/20/man-v-rat-war-could-the-long-war-soon-be-over

      • textdoc

        Thanks for the link!
        Reading the article now. I get a kick out of this bit:
        “In 2010, Chicago officials went ‘natural’: figuring a natural predator might track and kill rats, they released 60 coyotes wearing radio collars on to the city streets.”

    • textdoc

      Hmm. I’d heard about birth control for deer, but this is the first I’ve heard of birth control for rats.

  • Anony

    I would note the picture is the 1200 block of 11th St (between M and N) and not the 1100 block of M St.

    • logandude

      No, that picture was taken directly outside 1107 M St NW, looking west along the north side of M St.

      • Neighbour

        I live on this block between 11th and 12th on M. I don’t know if all the pile up is from Airbnb guests, but it’s a mess. They can just buy one or two new bins so there is no overflowing. i may just buy them one or two!

        • Anony

          You are right, it is 1107 1/2 M St

  • I live on 15th and Columbia and we too have major rat issues. Apparently the city used to be proactive with rodent control but not so much anymore. I suggest calling the DC dept of health and submitting a request. They were very responsive when I called and came out he next day to treat the area. We have seen a decrease in rodent activity.


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