Mice: my problem or the residents?

6 Replies

Hey BP. I'm trying to help out my resident who has mice. I'm on the fence about who is on the hook here? What experience have you all had with this situation? My lease doesn't specify "pest control" but the resident has been living there for about 18 months. I make the argument that the mice are a part of the "maintenance" section of the lease. It's winter and it's cold so mice are trying to survive. I've already suggested to him to get traps and buy those pest deterrent devices from a home improvement store. What are your thoughts BP?

Thanks!

Steve 

As you stated, it is natural that mice come indoors in the autumn/winter.   With older (and many not so old) buildings, it's almost impossible to prevent their entry, but it is possible to make the building less attractive of a place to stay.

Mice breed quickly, so ultimately they become the property owner's problem regardless of how they entered and whether the tenant laid out a buffet enticing them to stay.   In all our older (read: rubble foundation) buildings, we provide tenants with a {virtual} handout in the autumn indicating things they can do to make their home less appealing to mice.  We also place bait stations in the cellar and around the property in the autumn and make traps (w/ instructions) available to tenants at the first sign of rodents.

In our multi-unit buildings on the edge of more  mouse populous neighbourhoods, we have a pest control service monitor and maintain a "trap line" in the properties.

In all cases, a coordinated effort between landlord, tenant and {if present} pest control service, is essential to prevent a mouse or two from becoming a colony.  The key is to respond immediately and not allow the mice to establish a population.

Originally posted by @Steve Boianelli :

Hey BP. I'm trying to help out my resident who has mice. I'm on the fence about who is on the hook here? What experience have you all had with this situation? My lease doesn't specify "pest control" but the resident has been living there for about 18 months. I make the argument that the mice are a part of the "maintenance" section of the lease. It's winter and it's cold so mice are trying to survive. I've already suggested to him to get traps and buy those pest deterrent devices from a home improvement store. What are your thoughts BP?

Thanks!

Steve 

 In this business everything ultimately lies on the landlord. What you want to do 1st is try to get the tenant to handle it. Traps, deterrent devices etc... all the way to go. But keep in mind that if the tenant balks or just moves out of the property your stuck with it all. You have to ask yourself what's easier knocking it out now as it just started or waiting till it get dramatically worse?

Thanks for the advice! Traps have been used and other devices too. I’ll talk with the tenant later to see how we can mutually agree to deal with this situation. As it was stated I don’t want a colony of mice to take over. 

Ordinary pest control is the tenant's responsibility but I will usually help out the first time. Why? Because it gives me an opportunity to inspect and see if the tenant is part of the problem.

Yes, mice come indoors. I have a large, newer, very tidy home and we still get an occasional mouse. People that do not keep their homes tidy are likely to have more problems. When the tenant calls and reports mice, I'll deliver traps and inspect to see where the mice are getting in and if I can help reduce the problem. I'll also look around and see if the living conditions are attracting mice or other pests.

Our lease specifically has a paragraph regarding pest control. While tenants are responsible for pest control issues, we do have to owner's handle wildlife entry like squirrels, raccoons, possum, etc. As far as rodents, we will send a technician out to try to take care of any entry points and possibly set out poison, but the rodents inside the home should be the tenants responsibility. If they tenants are unable to get the situation under control we can send our pest control vendor out but the tenants are charged back for the cost.

@Nathan G. Before I read your post I printed out strategies on dealing with mice and called my tenant. Told him I would help him fix the issue and educated him that mice, unlike roaches and bed bugs, aren't treated with sprays and other chemicals. A tech from a big name company is going to charge hundreds to do what I would do, set traps. I'm not a fan of the poison because it's a slow horrible death. I want the rodents out of the house but they don't need to suffer. I just want them dead quickly. My personal property is in the woods and I make it a game to see how many mice I can catch at a night in the winter months with the old school snap traps and peanut butter. 

@Ross Denman my newer leases do have a sections titled "Pest Control". I guarantee a clean house for one month. No roaches, mice, etc. Any time after one month in the property it is the residents responsibility to deal with pest. However, this tenant of mine has one of my older leases. If he renews it will be updated to include the pest control clause. 

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