Can I Withhold Rent for Mice? (Find Out Now!)

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Nobody should have to live with a rodent infestation. But who’s responsibility is it to get rid of mice? And if it’s up to your landlord, can you withhold rent until the problem is fixed? Here’s what you need to know.

Always pay your rent on time, even if you have a rodent problem. That’s because you promised to fulfill the lease, and your payment record could come in handy if you go to court. Landlords must meet specific EHO requirements, which means you could be off the hook for rent if they don’t act accordingly.

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Tenant’s Rights with a Pest Infestation

As a tenant, you have specific rights and responsibilities. However, that doesn’t mean you have to live in squalor to satisfy the terms of a lease. Based on most state laws, landlords must provide a habitable space free of pests and vermin.

That means property owners have to keep their homes sanitary. So, they must remove debris and fix any troublesome areas. And if they refuse to maintain the house as per state law, they might pay for professional extermination services.

NOTE: If the rodent infestation is your fault, then you’ll have to foot the bill for an exterminator.

Is It the Landlord’s Responsibility to Get Rid of Mice?

For the most part, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to maintain a clean property and get rid of mice. However, you should probably check the state laws where you live to be sure. Even different counties have different rules. So, don’t move out yet.

The property owner has to practice due diligence, but they can’t always prevent rodent populations. That’s because mice like to burrow and hide, which means they can be hard to find. Plus, mice can sneak into attics, garages, sheds, and basements despite your best efforts to keep them at bay.

Your landlord must make reasonable efforts to close gaps, fix plumbing, and keep appliances working correctly. But it’s up to you to do the rest. You can’t expect mice to stay away from your home when it’s unkempt or when your food is left open. Mice enjoy a free meal, and they’d be happy to eat at your house tonight.

Who Is Responsible for Getting Rid of Mice in an Apartment?

The responsibility for getting rid of mice in a rental property falls on both the landlord and the tenant. It’s supposed to be a team effort, wherein both parties work together to prevent an infestation. However, if one or both parties don’t mitigate the problem, you’ll have to take your case to court.

At that point, the courts will render a verdict in someone’s favor. But first, the court will have to examine your living space and lifestyle to determine fault. If you did your best to keep mice away, the judge might rule in your favor. If not, the judge might ask you to pay court costs and extermination fees out of pocket.

Meanwhile, your landlord will be subject to skepticism as well. Courts despise slumlords, so your landlord will have to show due diligence according to state law. And if they can’t, the courts may award you damages and force the property owner to pay for extermination.

NOTE: The judge expects you to continue paying rent until you take the case to court and receive a verdict. Remember, the judge may make the landlord pay back some of your rent money.

What Happens If My Landlord Won’t Get Rid of Mice?

If your landlord can’t get rid of the mice in your home and the courts can’t help you, there may be something else you can do. It involves starving out the rodent population on your property. But the average fieldmouse can live for days without food, so that the tactic may take a while.

Stubborn landlords can be a challenge, but you’re not alone. When the court system fails, you can always try one of these three options:

  • File an Official Complaint. Documented complaints can help you prove your case in a court of law. So, be as descriptive as possible.
  • Pay to Get Out of Your Lease. Paying to end your rental lease can be expensive. But that might be better than living in a home infested with mice.
  • Hire an Exterminator. Even if you have to pay for services yourself, do it. You might get some or all of the money back when you take the case to court.

Don’t forget to do some preventative maintenance on your home first. Close holes, remove exposed food and then sanitze the space. That way, you won’t waste any time or money on efforts that get you nowhere.

Can I Break My Lease If There Are Mice in My House?

Technically, you can break your lease at any time. However, you may have to pay a steep penalty for getting out of your agreement early. Plus, it might not look good on future rental applications, especially if you don’t pay the fees.

You can only break a rental agreement without penalty if your landlord breaks their contract with the state. That means they stop fixing things that they’re legally responsible for improving. So, make sure you document as much as you can. Then, take that information with you to court.

TIP: Don’t stop paying your rent until the courts tell you how to proceed because you could get evicted.

Should I Move Because of a Rodent Infestation?

Whether you should or shouldn’t move because of a mouse problem is up to you. However, understand that rodents can carry a wide variety of diseases. And some of those diseases can be deadly to humans. Mice were one of the reasons why the Bubonic plague spread so quickly.

Instead of jumping the gun, try getting rid of the mice first. You can tell mice are gone by observing the areas where they regularly gather. If you no longer see droppings or find chewed-up pieces of material, that’s a good sign. Still, you can hire an exterminator just to be sure.

TIP: You can ask an exterminator to do a free estimate on your home, which will reveal any problem areas on the property.

Related Questions

Are Mice Afraid of Humans?

Mice are sometimes afraid of human beings. However, that’s not always the case. Some mice are braver than others, which means they might not run when they see your face. So, keep some traps set and be ready for an invasion if your house has too many access points.

How Do I Keep Mice Out of My Room at Night?

You can keep rodents out of your room while you sleep. Plus, you don’t have to use poisons or noisy traps either. Everyday household products like black pepper can help keep pesky mice away. But ammonia, cloves, and minty toothpaste might be equally effective.

Will Mice Come Near Me While I Sleep?

Some mice aren’t afraid to come close while you’re asleep. That’s because they know you won’t respond to their rapid movements. So, brave mice might forage for food or make nests in your bedroom when you’re unconscious.

How Do You Live with Mice?

It’s not easy to live with mice. And it’s rather dangerous as well. The reason is that mice can carry dangerous diseases, plus mice can bite. So, the best way to coexist with rodents is to avoid them at all costs. If you need help, contact your landlord or hire an exterminator.

Do You Need Pest Control Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

No More Mouse in the House

Get rid of mice in your home, whether you rent or own. And hold your landlord responsible for what they’re supposed to do. If all else fails, contact the courts or hire an exterminator and wait for reimbursement. But never stop paying rent until you settle the case, or else you could get evicted.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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