Is My Landlord Responsible For Mice?

Is Your Landlord Responsible For Mice

While some people may think of mice as tiny, adorable creatures who mean no harm, there’s no denying that they can cause problems. They destroy property, reproduce quickly, and bring with them a general sense of uncleanliness. If you’re a renter experiencing a mouse infestation, you might be wondering if you’re expected to take care of it on your own or if your landlord is required to handle the issue.

The easy answer is, yes, a landlord is expected to take reasonable steps to rid their tenant’s home of vermin. However, it is possible for a renter to be held accountable for an infestation. Before you approach your landlord about taking care of your furry visitor, you should understand your rights and responsibilities as a renter and how to ensure your landlord takes appropriate action.

Your Expectations as a Renter

Because you’re paying rent to your landlord, it’s natural that you should expect certain things in return. Chief among them might be the expectation that you and your family have a safe, clean place to live, and that your landlord should be willing to provide that.

You’ll be pleased to know that you’re well within your rights to expect such things. Laws vary regarding a landlord’s responsibility to respond to reports of mice, but it’s not uncommon for them to face stiff fines or even lawsuits for failing to take action.

Some tenants choose to withhold rent or terminate their lease early, although that’s not legal in all states. If you’re thinking of doing either of those things, consult with a legal professional first to avoid being evicted or sued for back rent.

Your Landlord’s Responsibility

If any landlord wants to maintain a good reputation and continue to attract tenants, they’ll have to take timely action against a mouse infestation in their building or rental home. In general, the responsibility falls to them to keep their rental properties habitable, which includes ensuring that the dwelling is pest-free.

Should you be forced to leave your apartment or house for a few days while exterminators take care of your problem, your landlord may be expected to cover your hotel expenses as well.

Your Responsibility as a Renter

Mouse Trap

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As a tenant, you also have responsibilities. It’s very possible that your contract or lease says you can be held accountable for infestations, including mice, in the event you fail to keep your property sanitary. If you let trash pile up or keep food out in the open, it’s not unreasonable for your landlord to assume you caused the mouse problem yourself.

If that’s the case, you’ll be expected to handle the problem on your own, covering any costs incurred. Should you refuse to take action, your landlord may choose to evict you or even seek legal action against you to be compensated for property damages.

If You Run into Trouble…

In the event that your landlord refuses to uphold his or her responsibility to respond to your infestation report, refer to your city or state’s landlord-tenant laws to see what kind of actions you can take. In some cases, renters may be allowed to deduct the cost of an extermination from their rent or withhold it altogether until the problem is resolved. As we mentioned before, however, be sure to consult with a legal professional to avoid any extra trouble.

Provided you keep your home clean and sanitary, you should report any bad experience you have with a landlord who refuses to take action against your vermin complaint to your local building or health authority. It may save future tenants the pain of having to go through the same thing you did.

About Max Beier

Maximilian F. Beier is a partner at Beier, Beier & Beier. He joined the law firm in 2001 as an associate after a two-year clerkship with Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge, John P. Hester. He was made a partner in 2007. Max is experienced in litigating personal injury claims and product liability issues in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania. Additional litigation experience includes business disputes, contract actions, real-estate and domestic matters. Max and wife Michele reside in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, and are the proud parents of Maximilian Finley “Finn," and Braxton Beier.
  • Jeremy Brown

    Max, i had a problem with mice, it’s not in my lease that I would be responsible. I did all I could do to rid my rental of mice, was catching in upwards of 8 mice a day using standard snap traps. However, it go to be too much for me to handle on my own. My landlord and the owner of the property came out to turn off the sprinklers when I notified them I had been having this problem with the mice. They told me that day they would get it taken care of. About a month went by and nothing so I followed up and demanded they take care of it. Only then did they finally send someone out to rid the place of mice. I then took videos of my vents in the home which were littered in mouse droppings and very strong pee smell. When I first told my landlord and the owner of the problem I mentioned to them most likely they would need to get rid of the mice and also get the vents cleaned out. I also mentioned the carpets would probably need to be cleaned as well since they were running all over property. They sent someone to take care of the mice, they did not send anyone to clean the vents or clean the carpets. I had to again ask them to clean the vents, they then sent someone to clean the vents, but again I mentioned the carpets and how this place really needed a professional cleaning. Again nothing on the cleaning. I just today asked him when that would happen and he more or less told me it wasn’t going to happen. He said it’s my responsibility to have the carpets cleans every 6 months, but how does that have anything to do with a mouse infestation? I’m from Idaho. I’d really appreciate your input and some help in finding out what my rights are in my state and what recourse I have in this matter because at this point the place is not healthy to live in and I will most likely have to move out if this doesn’t get taken care of. Please email me if you can help. Thanks.

    • Jeremy Brown

      My email is jcbrown33@gmail.com Thanks.

    • Jeremy Brown

      Also I’d like to mention during the time of the infestation. I’ve been sick 4 times, my son has fallen ill recently with stomach issues and respiratory issues, my dog died of some strange illness which looked to me as poisoning from the mouse poison they chose to use, some of my property has been destroyed due to the mice and they’ve literally been in every nook and cranny of this place, under all my sinks, under the stove, under the washer and dryer, everywhere pretty much there have been mice and there is still a lingering smell of pee in this house. As well this was not taken care of in a timely manner. My son and I were breathing this for months and only up until now has anything really bee done. So for months we breathed this and I’m sure that’s not good. My landlord and the owner knew of this before winter came as I mentioned I told them the day they came to blow out the sprinklers. So it was approx October to now I’ve been fighting them to get this taken care of. Anyway, any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Felicia I’maletJehovahtakeova

    Hello Max I live in a mice infested apartment, my landlord came and claim he covered holes he think they might be coming from. Even after he done that I still see mice feces all over my counter tops stove microwave kitchen table etc I clean feces on a daily basis. Do I take matters into my own hands or wait for him moving right now is out of the question….HELP

  • Felicia I’maletJehovahtakeova

    I also have a 6yr old who has asthma

  • tori

    I have no lease where I stay. Its month to month I had problems with mice in the past but not this bad. The landlord put traps and now after mice were caught threw away and no more traps. I hadn’t paid all my rent this month due to I got robbed and now he told me he can’t fix cause he has no rent I gave him $200 of my rent I owe $100 more. And now these mice are everywhere. Do I move or do I stay? My child is allergic to mice, etc and this landlord was here on the 3rd of may hasn’t returned since. He dont fix shit he a slumlord.

  • tori

    I’d move if I could and I am in the process of trying to. I am heated because he dont fix nothing. Leak in bathroom still not fix, no warm water to wash dishes only cold, the house exterior and interior is damaged from tenants before me and still he dont fix. I lost my job and I had all my rent til I got robbed a week before and all he asks about the money not fixing damages.

    • Sandra Hayes

      Ok, so what happened.
      If this were more recent here is my take. You moved into a place that had issues. The leak, exterior of the home should have given you a clue that you are dealing with a slumlord. Take your losses and walk away.
      These landlords prey on people whom he believes will not have resources to fight or leave. They just love it. Happened to me once. Landlord got his place redtagged/condemned, I eventually got my security deposit returned (he had to give me 2x’s since he did not return it withon 21 days). One slumlord down but there are plenty more.

      Had a tenant that compkained about everything. A mismatched knob, door hardware finish, small stain on the carpet. All ofwhich wasbthere when they took occupancy. Later they complained the lawn was dying. Told them to try watering. They said no because that would raise their water bill to $20 per month. What did they want kebtibdo? So, fed up with them, I showed up with a couple of Native Americans and we did a rain dance. Neighbors loved it. Tenants, well, not so much. LOL
      They sued. They lost and the judge ordered they vacate duebto iverly harrassingbthe management. THANK YOU JUDGE.
      Next tenants were wonderful. Bit picky but easy to resolve.

  • Hope White

    I am a Landlord, my tenants have leased my property for 3 years, I lived there for 2 years prior. Neither of us has ever had mice until yesterday. My tenant has chickens, roosters, horses, a cow, pigs and numerous dogs and a cat. There is also a swimming pool and numerous vegetation near and around the home and property. They are saying there are mice in between the walls and on the roof. Am I responsible for exterminating or are they?

  • nealrene39@gmail.com

    I have a rat in my apt,i pay rent a week early,im clean an i dont have any Furniture,because i have roaches an rats I’ve been complaoning for 2 weeks,me an my daughter stay up from 9pm to 7am everyday,office is playing games with me so today they asked me if i want to sign up for exterminator sgain,this would be the 3rd time,i just walked out crying,what sre my rights

  • Raghed Raghed

    I have a rats in my apt and i have photos for it.
    we are refugees we are new in US virginia and we are pay a rent we are very tired from this problem plaese if you can help me i was talk with landlord but no answer and in contract they not said any things about mice and rats what i must do?

  • Debbie Lewis

    Hi Max, I just had a chipmunk enter my rental apartment through a dryer vent which does not keep out rodents. The resident manager and his son came and trapped and removed the animal, but while they were trying to catch it, it went into the back of my dryer. They turned the dryer on with the animal inside it, and also used a dryer lint brush to flush him out. Now my dryer will not work – it is only a matter of weeks old – and worked the day before. What are my rights with regard to repair of the dryer, since the owners did not provide a fixed exterior vent that keeps out rodents, and since they turned the dryer on with the rodent inside, and used the dryer lint brush to force him out. I do not know if the damage was caused directly by the animal or by the resident manager’s actions, but either way, I didn’t do anything to cause the damage.

  • Shawna Chavez

    Hi Max I live in apartments that are infested with roaches and in some of the united there r mice. Well in our lease it it states tenants r responsible for the inside. OK well my question is I have a family that lives down stairs from me, ants this family consists of 84 yr old lady and her to son’s both can not walk and one is not able to talk or move at all. Now mind u before this family moved in the apartment had a bad infection of raoches and was never completely cleaned out. OK well they moved in and then they started having problems with the mice. We reported it to the landlord and he said that’s not his problem. What can we do to help this family .

    • Sandra Hayes

      Looks like this blog is not monitored.
      Anaheim California early 1990’s. Fair Housing intervened informing the landlord he is responsible for rodents, ants and roaches inlessbhe could prove something I did or was doing caused the infestation.
      Landlord called in an exterminator. Took care of the problem but sicken me, killed two of my birds, one fish and made my jome smell like the inside of a can of Raid.

      You might want to contact FairHousing, tenants rights in your area.

  • Mindy C

    My landlord is really not taking my mice problem serious at al, there’s seriously 6 dead mice in my kitchen floor and I was expecting to see him to show him how severe this problem is and he never shows up!!!!! Oh and there’s also roaches and dirty water running down the faucit. Can I report this anonymously? I’m afraid he will retaliate against my complain if I reach out to complain to the LA public health county.

    • Sandra Hayes

      As a property manager, here is my take of the situation.
      You can report anything anonymously, but, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who called. If your home is unfit for habitation, move. Break your leasewith clear evidence as to why so the landlord cannot charge a fine. Someimes, small claims court will award damages to the tenant if you can prove the rodent infestation (infestation, not one or two critters)and can prove that the landlord refused or failed to remedy the situation. This might piss you off, but even if he just gives you some moyse traps or bait, that might be viewed as sufficient.

      • Mindy C

        It’s not as easy as you’re making it to be mam. First of all you cannot report these situations as anonymous anymore.!Second, it’s hard to find a place that won’t charge you an extremely expensive amount to move in. I live in L.A. .

        • Sandra Hayes

          It is expensive to move here in Shasta County. I had a tenant report my home anonymously. There was a leak in the outer rim of a carport. Could not have it fixed intil the rains ended. That took 3 months. She moved suing for “damages”. Well, since a carport is for a vehicle not storage, she lost. Carport was repaired as soon as the licensed roofers were able to do the work.
          Back to your mouse situation. Time to put out poison. It landlord won’t and you do not want to vacate, poison those little burgers. Tge mewnpoisons are suppose to be pet friendly inlike the old that caused hemorrhaging. Good luck

  • Wayne C. Logan

    I East Mt. Airy Philadelphia PA in by all accounts in what is supposed to be a luxury apartment complex called Chestnut Hill Village apartments it is a beautiful section of City and the apartments their self look from the outside a great place to live we’ve been here for almost 3 years and we started to notice a problem with mice to date I have court 13 mice and Counting and they keep coming running into the store running across countertops and just in general are disgusting I’ve talked to neighbors they’re having the same problem in this particular building that I’m in there are multiple complaints and the problem is ongoing and just totally unacceptable for the money that is being put out to live here I’ve been to live here I’ve been to management they seem to be nonchalant and they continue two address the problem in in a manner that is that is and has not been a solution and they continue to lie and not tell the truth when leasing these apartments to the new tenants we need help we’re at our wits end and do not want to be here living in a rodent infested environment but we can’t just up and relocate we need help in making these people accountable can we get some input on this…

  • Ana Perez

    I live in San Antonio TX, in a town home, apartment name is “woods of Brook hollow” I did a 12mo lease.. for 9 months out of the whole 12 months I dealt with an infestation of mice.. now they have damaged my furniture specially my sectional which I had just purchased 3 months after moving in.. the rats made a hole in it and seem to be breeding in it.. for the whole 12 months we have had problems with cockroaches and pest control was sent but cockroaches never left.. from the looks of it they have been dealing with this problem for YEARS as I finally did research and there are many complaints on the reviews I have read online about rats and cockroaches, well I have 3 children ages 8,2,1 who have been sick many times to their stomach ever since we moved in.. now as I mentioned pest control was sent but no we’re not able to get rid of either the rats, mice nor the cockroaches.. I spoke to the manager about the damage it has caused me and my children and all they said is we have done lol we could.. now my question is am I entitled to any kind of compensation for the damage to my furniture and the day’s I had to take off of work to care for my children if so how can I deal with this situation?

  • Ashley Garner

    I recently moved in a house march 2017 when I moved in the maintenance guys still had some touching up to do. They came by every other day putting up blinds fixing a backed up drain to the washer which is in the garage and other small things. I had created a checklist of things that was not done. Since then a new property management company took over in May my Husband and kids discovered a rat not mice but rat in the kitchen huge. So I contacted the property management they said they would contact pest control on June 12th. I called them back a week later they told me they would be out on the 27th no show. They told me when I called back that they would have to contact the Home owner and see what they were going to do about the situation and get with pest control to see when they were available. Hence they had already made me an appt for June 27th between 8am and 12pm. They never came. FYI I did call back two days later from my initial call to let them know that my kids saw it run behind the stove and they moved it to find a big couch pillow stuffed between the wall and cabinet and when they moved it it was a rat trap behind it and a small hole in the wall where the rat done chewed a hole there. This was done prior to me moving my family in. Also they stove was brand new so they had to know there was a couch pillow stuffed back behind the cabinets. What measures should I take I am terrified to go in the kitchen. It’s supposed to be my happy place am I giving them enough time how long should it take for them to rectify this situation I’m scared. Sorry so lengthy
    Fruastrated tenant