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.