Unwanted guests sometimes find their way into our living spaces. Don't panic- most pest problems can be resolved with some attention and cooperation between you and your landlord.
Who is responsible for extermination service?
According to the City of Philadelphia Housing Code, as described in "Partners for Good Housing" (PDF)
responsibility for insects and rodents are as follows:
For the tenant, this means:
- In one-family houses, the tenant or homeowner must keep the house clean
and sanitary. It is the occupant's responsibility to have insects, rodents,
other pests exterminated.
- Where there are two or more apartments in a building, the landlord must
keep all shared or public areas of the buildings clean and sanitary.
- The tenant must have any insects, rodents, or other pests exterminated if the
tenant's apartment is the only one infested. Otherwise, it is the responsibility
of the landlord to have such pests exterminated.
- If you live in a single-family home or a rooming house rented together by a group of students, the tenants are responsible for extermination service unless:
- the premises were already infested when the tenants moved in, OR
- defects in or damages to the building structure provide easy access to pests and favorable conditions for infestation.
- If you live in an apartment building and your apartment is the only one infested, you could be made responsible for the cost of extermination. If two or more apartments are infested, the landlord is responsible for extermination.
The process of pest control/elimination requires good communication between tenant and landlord, whether you live in a rooming house or an apartment. Contact your landlord at the first sign of an infestation.
How can I prevent an infestation?
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep the premises clean and store food properly, pests may still enter. However, there are some simple measures one can take that may make your home less accessible and less appealing to pests.
- When selecting an apartment or house, inspect the entire place, particularly the ground floor and kitchen areas, for holes. Mice may enter through very small holes (even 1/2 inch or underneath a closed door). Check to see that the space around any pipes, such as water or gas pipes, is properly and permanently sealed. If large spaces remain, request that your landlord repair the holes as soon as possible.
- Store food in airtight, sturdy plastic or metal containers. Keep food only in the kitchen or pantry, and put dry goods (a favorite among mice) on high shelves and seal them well. Some say mice will chew through plastic. If this happens, metal tins can be purchased at many dollar stores.
- Sweep up crumbs and wipe down counters with soap or a disinfectant after cooking and eating.
What do I do if I suspect the presence of pests?
The presence of droppings, chewed or gnawed food packaging, or shredded paper/nesting material may indicate an infestation. Contact your landlord verbally and follow up in writing (email or letter) to make him or her aware of the problem.
The EPA has extensive information about some common household infestations:
Additionally, the EPA offers a guide to pest control
, downloadable as a PDF.
Last modified: 2011-12-20 14:32:20