Updated: Controlling Rats in Multi-Unit Buildings

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As a property or building manager, you are responsible for ensuring the complex remains rodent free for your tenants. But rodents are tricky critters and can squeeze through the smallest holes, establishing their place as unwanted guests.  

You and your tenants will know they are there from their unpleasant trail of droppings and shredded insulation. Once you’ve spotted a rodent, you’ll have to call a professional pest control expert to eliminate the problem. But how do you keep them from coming back? 

The best thing you can do for your building and tenants is rodent-proofing your building. 

Why Rodent Proofing Is Crucial 

It’s known that rodents chew through anything they can get their teeth on. This is a nuisance, but it can start a fire when they chew on electrical cables! That’s not where the troubles end, though. 

A rodent infestation creates many health hazards to the tenants of your building. Whether through food contamination or an infectious disease, they threaten anyone who enters the building. 

Rodent-proofing your home will prevent these and other problems from taking over your multi-unit buildings.  

Rodent Proofing an Apartment Building 

As the landlord, you are responsible for ensuring your building is rodent-free. However, each tenant plays their own role in keeping it that way. By properly rodent proofing each unit and educating tenants on signs of an infestation, you can prevent an outbreak of disease-ridden critters running amuck in your building.   

Identify What Brought Rodents into Your Building 

Rodents often enter a building in search of food. They prefer dirty spaces, which gives them easy access to food scraps or insects. Determining what they may have been after and eliminating it is the first step to preventing another problem. Encouraging your tenants to keep things clean will make you less likely to have a future infestation.    

Keep the Property Clean 

As the building manager, you’re partially responsible for keeping the units clean. Anything that a mouse may find interesting must be removed, including empty boxes from supplies you’ve had delivered. 

Close Off the Entry Points 

Any holes throughout the building are the perfect access point for rodents. However, a patch job using more drywall won’t close off the entry because rodents can chew through it. The best materials are steel wool and caulk because they cannot nibble through them.

Even if you don’t think a small hole will be a problem, you should still fill it with caulk or steel wool. Rodents can force their way through the tiny holes just as they can a large hole.

Don’t forget to check any window screens. Small tears in the material create an entry point for a critter to crawl through when tenants have their windows open to circulate fresh air.  

Educate Tenants 

Getting tenants actively involved is key to successful rodent-proofing. Provide educational tips through flyers, emails, and building meetings. Highlight the importance of cleanliness, decluttering, and reporting sightings immediately. Supply free step stool traps so tenants can monitor for activity in their units. Offer incentives for compliance, such as entering tidy tenants in a raffle for a gift card or discount on rent. When tenants take an active role, they become your partners in prevention rather than viewing pest issues as solely the landlord’s responsibility. A collaborative approach demonstrates you take resident health and safety seriously. Tenants who feel heard and supported are more likely to adhere to building policies and report problems promptly. Working together lays a foundation for an effective community-wide rodent deterrence program.

In addition, you should encourage them to keep food sealed in plastic or glass containers. Trash cans should be covered at all times, and trash should be kept off the floor. 

Educating tenants about the signs of a rodent infestation is also crucial. Ensure they understand how to identify a pest problem by teaching them to look for the following: 

  • Droppings or dark smudges near baseboards 
  • High-pitched squeaks or chewing sounds 
  • Shredded paper or fabric 
  • Footprints 
  • Holes chewed through food packages 

Express the importance of paying attention to these signs. An untreated rodent problem can multiply quickly and wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your building. Advise tenants to report any pest activity they see promptly.

Provide Rodent Traps 

If your tenants report a rodent sighting, use rodent traps to begin managing the problem. Provide them, at no charge, to the tenant and offer to check them regularly. Don’t forget to remove the traps, even if they don’t successfully lure in a pest.     

Hire Professional Rodent Proofing Help  

For every rodent you find in your apartment building, there are several more that you aren’t seeing. There are multiple places they can hide and breed, making it challenging to keep up. Fortunately, every step you take toward rodent-proofing your multi-unit building will help. But only trained professionals can ensure your facility will remain safe from an infestation.

For example, pest control experts may use tracking technology that locates where pests live behind the walls. From there, they can identify the following steps to eradicate the rodents.  

Expert pest control technicians will identify all entry points rats may use to access your apartments. They will ensure these areas are sealed off, denying access to the tiniest critter. 

If you live in Seattle, Everett, San Diego or Orange County, CA, Contact Attic Project to answer your questions about our rodent-proofing services and schedule your free inspection!  

Helpful Reading: Ebook Controlling Rats In Multi-Unit Buildings

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