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Household Pests

Vermin, rodents and other household pests occur in some rental properties. Pests live anywhere they can find food, water, warmth and shelter. Pest control companies regularly service many apartment buildings. Pests present serious health hazards to residents; therefore, the landlord is responsible for getting rid of them. If tenants are unable to eliminate household pests, the landlord is obliged to hire a professional exterminator. Local health departments can help tenants whose landlords are uncooperative in handling pest problems. Non-toxic methods of pest removal are preferable.

Learn how to identify pests, their risks and how to get rid of them. Inspect rentals carefully for traces of pests so you avoid moving into an infested home. Note: many common household pests come out only at night. If you are considering a rental that you suspect houses pests, ask to view the place after dark or ask other tenants who live in the building.

Common Household Pests

Silverfish Elimination/Prevention


Long, flat silver-grey body.

Broad at head and more narrow at rear.

Move quickly.

Prefer damp, warm areas.

Active at night.

Contaminate food.

Seal areas of entry.

Eliminate dampness.

Mice Elimination/Prevention


Brownish grey body with a long tail.

Prefer indoors.

Enter buildings through tiny openings.

Active in evening.

Live in well-hidden spaces between ceilings and floors
Eat and contaminate food.

Seal holes even as small as a dime along exterior walls.

Cover vents with screens.

Seal or caulk pipes.

Use traps and monitor frequently.

Fleas Elimination/Prevention


Small black to brownish-black.

Stout legs and flattened body.

Found in dark corners, behind and under furniture, cracks and crevices in baseboards.

Feed on blood of household pets and humans.

Transmit diseases with their bite.


Use flea-control collars or pills for pets.

Cockroaches Elimination/Prevention


Oval with long, spiny legs.

Light brown with two stripes down the middle of the back.

Active at night and light scares them.

Attracted to food, water, warmth and darkness.

Carry filth and transmit diseases.

Keep the kitchen clean and the bathroom dry.

Keep all food in sealed containers.

Cut off food and water sources elsewhere.

Seal cracks and cavities.

Rats Elimination/Prevention


Brown rats are 12 to 17 inches long.

Grey rats are smaller.

Year-round pest.

Found where waste accumulates.

Contaminate and eat food.

Seal stored goods.

Prevent waste from building up.

Seal quarter-sized openings in exterior walls.

Cover vents with screens.

Seal or caulk leaking pipes.

Use traps and monitor frequently.

Bedbugs Elimination/Prevention


Small, oval and flattened.


Active at night.

Bites leave minor to severe lumps or swelling and can cause bleeding.

Clean and air bedding.

Replace mattresses that are infected.

Vacuum frequently.

Carpenter Ants Elimination/Prevention


Large black ant or black with red marks.

Active at night.

Prefer moist areas.

Live in walls, ceilings, doors and insulation.

Destroy wood structures by tunneling.

Carry germs with their bite.

Keep areas dry.

Remove food sources.

Seal honey, jelly, fruit, and meat.

Keep areas around the outside of house free of wood.

Spread diatomaceous earth along the foundation.

If infestation is present, locate and destroy the nest.



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