Are Landlords Responsible For Rodent Problems in Washington State

If there are people around then you are sure to find rodents. Rodents benefit from human waste and their places of shelter. Whether it’s garbage tossed in a trash can or a shed in the backyard, rodents will find their way into your living spaces if they have reason to. When it comes to apartments or rental homes, rodents will not discriminate. All they need is a reason why and easy access.

Facts About Rodents

Rodents are actually very intelligent critters. Rated among some of the smartest animals on the planet, rodents will actually recognize their name and respond to it. Rats can even recognize the expressions of their peers like pain, etc.

A rat’s teeth never stop growing. This explains why they chew through just about anything. They are even known to chew through things like cinder blocks or sheet metal.

Rodents can spread over 30 diseases to humans. Mostly spread through their urine and feces, rodents can easily spread disease because of the trails they leave behind when scurrying about your home or other living spaces.

Rodents do not need large spaces to get access to your home. Even rats can squeeze through holes the size of a half inch in diameter.

Rodents can attain water through the food they eat which means that they do not always have to have a direct water source to survive.

Mice can reproduce at six weeks old which is why they increase in numbers so quickly.

What Are Landlords Responsible For?

Within the state of Washington, landlords are obligated under state law to manage infestations in rental units with an exception in single family residences and in cases where the infestation is caused by the tenants. As a landlord, management consists of making sure that the property is habitable. A habitable property is considered one that is free from infestation, has adequate heating, water, and electricity, and is structurally sound. If a property is not well maintained by the tenants and as a result causes an infestation then the tenant will be held responsible for repairs. Infestations are considered repair issues in Washington state.

Rodent Prevention Tips

  • Survey your property at least twice a year for holes, cracks and crevices around the exterior foundation of your building. Even small cracks can be entry points for rodents. Filling these spaces in will prevent rodents from entering.
  • Clear away debris from the perimeter of the house as well as cutting back branches and bushes that can become places for rodents to hide or have access to your roof. Rodents are excellent climbers so overhanging branches should be cut back away from the building. Plants and bushes should be well maintained and trimmed so they do not attract rodents.
  • Gardens are especially vulnerable to rodents. Maintaining these areas by getting rid of rotting produce and cutting back dying leaves will help keep rodents from being attracted to these spaces.
  • Keep wood piles away from homes, sheds and anywhere else that rodents could access.
  • Keep all pet food stored away in airtight containers. Often this food is kept in garages or sheds where rodents can easily get access.
  • Regular yard care actually plays a part in rodent prevention! The more time you spend in your yard the more likely you are to see visible signs of rodents. If rodents are around it’s best to catch them early on before they become a problem.
  • Chicken coops in the suburbs are more popular now than they ever have been. Keeping these pens cleaned up will help reduce the risk of rodents coming around. Placing pens away from the side of your home is also a good idea as rodents can dig holes and easily enter into your crawlspace.
  • Educate your tenants. When it comes to rental properties you only have so much say in how tenants go about living. Educating them on rodent prevention can play a key part in keeping rodents from becoming a problem.

Overall, no one wants to deal with rodents. Whether it’s the landlord or the tenants, rodents are a nuisance and often seen as disturbing to most people. They carry disease and can cause thousands of dollars in repairs if they are left to wreak havoc. Proper routine maintenance is imperative if you do not want to deal with the unfortunate results of a rodent infestation.

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