I have a triplex with an ongoing mouse issue I'm dealing with. Only the top two units have mice. I've done a lot of sealing and had an exterminator come out several times, so hopefully they'll be gone soon between what we're doing and it warming up. One of the tenants has two cats and a dog who catch the mice, eat them, and get sick. They're asking for some kind of compensation. The vet wouldn't provide a letter saying the pets got sick from the mice. It does seem like the right thing to do to pay them something for putting up with this issue over the last few months. I've told them I appreciate them working with me and agree some money paid to them would be fair, but let's wait until the issue is definitively concluded first and then we'll evaluate.
1. What amount would you pay? I was thinking $300-$500. Rent is $1,800.
2. The second tenant hasn't asked for any compensation yet and hasn't had pets get sick. I'd like to avoid them finding out I paid the first tenant and wanting some money too.
3. What are the legal implications with this? Should we sign some sort of addendum? I'm doing everything I can to remedy the issue. How else can I avoid liability?
How would you play this?
First thing that stands out (to me) about this situation is that the infestation is on the top floors, not on the first floor or basement. Mice normally come in from outside through small (even tiny) openings in foundation or broken windows in basement, then if they find food/water will breed and spread.
They also won't stay I an area that has insufficient food, water and shelter for them to be comfortable. How is your tenant's housekeeping?
Has the triplex been inspected by a professional exterminator? Have they treated? If you have done what is required of you as landlord to treat the problem, then frankly, I don't see the liability for a cat catching a mouse and getting sick. (I am not an attorney, and of course, anyone can sue anybody at any time for any reason).
That being said, I'd get a professional inspection, and if you get sued for damages, have the exterminator testify with you in court. Without anything from a vet to back up their story, no proof that the cat caught the mouse inside your building, and if you are on top of treating the problem, I'd not make an offer at all.
It's a wild and whacky world in this business.
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