There’s Rats in Your Apartment: Should Your Landlord Help?

Nothing sends chills up a renter’s spine faster than seeing a rat in their apartment or around the housing complex. Rats are not only frightening for many people, but they can also pose a serious health hazard due to the contagious diseases and mites they carry. Thankfully, if you have a fairly standardized lease agreement, then your landlord should help you get rid of the pests.

What to Do If You See a Rat in Your Apartment

Spooking your landlord by saying there is a rat in your apartment but not having any proof of it could be problematic. Before you go down to the leasing office, see if you can gather any evidence that the rat you saw was real. Look around your apartment and nearby common areas for signs of a rat infestation.

Common signs of a rat infestation in apartment complexes are:

  • Brown droppings, especially in pantries or kitchens
  • Scratching noises in the walls, especially unshared walls
  • Rub marks along low walls and doorframes
  • Holes and tunnels near the exterior foundations

Try to snap a picture of the rat and any evidence of them you notice around your apartment. You should also be sure to clean your own apartment thoroughly. A good cleaning will help prevent sickness. It also gives your landlord fewer reasons to try to blame you for the rat infestation.

Once you inform your landlord of the rat you spotted, they should take quick action to address the situation. Your lease will probably have a clause in it that describes how the landlord or property management company will make certain the rat infestation is controlled and all tenants are protected. Give this a quick review, too.

What to Do If Your Landlord Doesn’t Handle the Rats

Your tenant rights guarantee you a safe, livable space in exchange for your monthly rent payments. A landlord who does not make reasonable attempts to eliminate the rats in your apartment or throughout their property is violating this right. They can be met with legal action to set things right.

A landlord or property management company may be ordered by a court to take additional steps to get the rat infestation under control as soon as possible. They might also be ordered to pay damages to any tenants affected by the infestation. At the least, a tenant may be permitted to break their lease early without any consequence.

For more information about getting landlords to properly address rat infestations in your apartment complex, call (415) 915-7445. Tenant Law Group in San Francisco represents tenants in landlord-tenant disputes and offers free consultations to inquiring callers.