Mice can destroy your rental properties in more ways than one. They cause physical damage by chewing through walls and wires, potentially creating dangerous and damaging electrical problems. Even worse, they can ruin your reputation, with word-of-mouth and bad reviews scaring away potential renters. These little pests can cause huge problems if not stopped in their tracks.
Here are five ways mice can wreak havoc on rental properties and how you can avoid them.
Although mouse fecal matter doesn’t necessarily damage any property, it is an eyesore. Mice produce up to 1 gram of droppings every day. With an infestation of mice, this adds up fast. You could end up with thousands of droppings in your rental property every day.
Accumulation of mice droppings could pose a health threat to your tenants. They can spread bacteria, trigger allergic reactions and contaminate food. This is more likely to occur in cooler months as mice seek shelter. Common places where people may find droppings include silverware drawers, pantries and under kitchen counters and sinks.
Another common issue with mice and rental properties is that they will chew through just about anything to build a nest. Mice like to have a soft, comfortable place to give birth. They’ll use items like newspaper, fabrics, cardboard and, unfortunately, important documents.
Drywall, electrical wires and insulation are not safe from mice, either. When they gnaw through structural materials, they cause damage and potential danger. Chewed and exposed wires could lead to fires, and a loss of insulation may increase energy bills. You’ll need to pay for repairs and replacements.
3. Excessive Procreation
Mice are prolific breeders. Populations multiply quickly for any type of rodent. If they have enough food, shelter and water, the procreation rates may seem quite excessive. The more mice on your rental property, the more likely you are to see major damage.
Once mice are just over one month old, they can begin producing offspring. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, either. They’ll have batches of babies any month. Each litter contains between four and 12 pups, and every year, a female can have between five and 10 litters. Therefore, in one year, one mouse could have over 100 babies.
Rodents will roam an apartment or home in search of things to eat. A tenant may find tiny holes in food bags or fecal matter near their food sources. This can turn renters away from renewing a lease.
As mice eat, they leave trails of urine and droppings, which contaminate everything. Plus, mice’s sharp teeth can chew through things that you might think are too tough to get through.
5. Loss of Revenue and Reputation
Usually, if tenants are experiencing mice problems, they may assume you’re not taking proper care of your rental property to get rid of pests. If a mouse infestation were to get out of control, you could experience tenants packing up and leaving a vacancy.
As a result, you might lose money and your reputation. Some extreme cases, like a $1.6 million payout in NYC, demonstrate the importance of pest prevention before landlords are responsible for issues with tenant health and safety. Additionally, the cost of repairs can add up quickly, so heading them off beforehand always helps.
How to Remove Mice From Rental Properties
Despite the damage mice can do — to the property and your reputation — there are many ways to limit or completely eliminate the issues they create.
1. Set Traps
Traps are a cheap and effective way to combat a current mouse infestation. There are various traps at different price points, depending on the severity of the problem.
You will likely need several traps, and since mice adapt quickly, it is beneficial to use different types. Using bait can increase the likelihood of a successful catch.
2. Inspect for Entry Points and Eliminate Them
If a tenant comes to you explaining a mouse situation, you should look for entry points. Mice can fit through holes as small as a nickel or even a dime. Regularly schedule appointments for a thorough inspection either by yourself or an experienced exterminator.
Some of the best materials to fill cracks are steel wool and caulk. Mice usually cannot chew through these, so they should do the trick.
Learn more about pest prevention and entry points: Critter Prevention and Animal Control for Landlords
3. Encourage Tenants to Get Rid of Temptations
Since mice often come indoors to search for food, getting rid of those temptations or ensuring they’re stored in a sealed container will mitigate the problem. A large bag of opened cereal surely will attract mice and other rodents.
Encourage your tenants to keep their space clean. Keeping the floor clear of hiding places and sealing up food will do wonders for everyone’s peace of mind. Inform them of the issues a mouse infestation can create, to further your point.
What You Need to Know About Mice in Your Rental Properties
One of the last things a rental property owner wants is an infestation of mice on their property. Besides destroying the units, they can ruin your reputation. By taking these steps, you can either get rid of them or prevent the problem in the first place.
Okay I’ve been living in a ranch for 8 years with no lease agreement I pay $500 a month me and my boyfriend about 5 months ago a new owner came and bought the whole ranch and the first three months he accepted my rent but $500 then he said that he was going to reconstruct the house I lived in cuz it was damaging molded so he did a little bit of work he put Windows there was never Windows there so that’s one thing he did it used to be a garage he hasn’t finished it yet putting the floor in the two bedrooms and he hasn’t finished painting it yet the old conditioner it was a water just a fan air conditioner it’s no free on or nothing it doesn’t get cold it’s only from outside that was hours when we moved in so he didn’t put one no air conditioning in there yet also he had me move all my stuff outside so he can reconstruct it it’s been rained on Windy on dirt all over my stuff and he’s still charged me rent while I was living out side there was no toilet and no bathtub no stove no refrigerator and still charging me rent for that first month I only gave him $300 cuz I didn’t feel like I was supposed to give him anything at all and he didn’t even see if I needed a place to stay is it up to him to give me some place to stay while he’s doing the Reconstruction of the house and it’s been 2 months now and then he tells me that he’s going to raise my rent to 1,200 I don’t know where I’m going to get that money at and then and he said if I can’t pay it then I have to leave and he wants me to do sign a 2-year agreement a two year lease and if I can’t sign that two year lease with $1,000 1,200 rent plus the deposit security deposit of 1,200 then I have to move out he said he’ll give me two weeks to move out move out as soon as I can so what can I do there’s rats there there’s cockroaches there he there’s no heater there no air conditioning no stove no refrigerator I have my own refrigerator but it broke I had my own electric stove but it doesn’t work that good he didn’t put one in he didn’t ask me if I needed one he says it’s finished already so he can start me start charging my rent but I don’t have the money to give to him can I take him to court for having me out on the street I have nowhere to go and I don’t have that much money to pay him what do I do please help I was also told that a landlord cannot raise your rent more than 10%, so how much percent is that if it was $500 and he jumped all the way up to 1,200 plus 2 year lease isn’t that more than 10% does he have the right to do that can I please take him to court and there was no safe inspection at all there’s no fire extinguisher there’s no smoke alarms no inspector came
That sounds distressing, Felecia. Some states and local areas limit a rent increase and other’s don’t if you don’t have a signed lease. There are a few things you can do. One, contact your local housing authority to ask about the laws and regulations in your area and discuss your concerns with them. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Second, contact your county and ask them if they offer free legal services as most have that available. I can’t offer legal advice on how to proceed but those two departments should be able to help you going forward. Wishing you all the best and that your situation improves quickly.
I live in an apartment complex in Weymouth MA — here 7 years — last January had phorid flies seeming to come from bathroom — the property manager who has since left was horrid — they exterminated my apartment every other week from January thru April — but exterminators (3) told property manager it was phorid and need to find source — they snaked tub and sink but nothing improved; toilet was old they replaced it but nothing improved — the first exterminator in January told me it was a plumbing problem, but they kept calling them back to spray — then by June they were gone. Now they are back starting mid December; but mid October started seeing mice and still have mice and it is now mid December — my neighbor upstairs who works here has mice; my neighbor (the only neighbor whom I share a wall with) has mice — I told others whom I know as a courtesy the three of us have mice — they were grateful but there really is no communication — and the issue is not getting better — I spoke with the property manager last Friday — today is Sunday I just watched a mice run circles around me — he said they are getting closer to figuring it out and exterminator is setting traps — said about 6 months ago they dug up the ground outside this building because there was always flooding puddles — I saw the work and it looked like they were replacing pipes plastic old one were visible — I figured it was french drain needing replacement — he said that work may have disturbed rodents — WHATEVER! I feel trapped. It would be so expensive not to move can handle that but all around me the rents have gone up to where if I found one it will likely cost me about $600 more a month; and of course who knows if I have problems there — the property manager said lots of complexes are having same problem and he also said there has been construction all around us — this is an old building — they would have to tear it down to mouse proof it — oh well. I work at home since pandemic so I’m seeing them during the day — last Monday a baby mouse appeared looked to me so clueless like it just fell out of it’s nest — my apartment is always spotless and there is nothing to eat — for a mouse to eat — I’m am ultra careful now and all my food is in the fridge EVERYTHING is in the fridgs literally since last January 2022 — so exterminator comes back this coming Tuesday to follow up on my two month mouse problem and to respond to the fact the phorid flies are back; they are small and scuttle — also had a toilet that makes boiling bubbling sounds for a year reported it each time and it always happened off hours the guy who came each time head of maintenance said “your toilet is fine” and left — finally the tub and the toilet overflowed about a month abo and “Mr Drain” came found a clog and retrieved a long necklace — not mine. I asked hem if a body was attached to it. I really think this is hopeless and I had so hoped. I am being forced to leave but where?