Anytime pests and bugs find their way into rental apartments, conflicts arise between tenants and landlords. In most cases, the bone of contention is who should be responsible for fixing the problem.
So, who do I contact about cockroaches in my apartment? If the pest problem came by due to natural causes, it’s upon your landlord to fix it. Characteristically, landlords of apartments that are more likely to be faced with pests’ problems include in their rental agreement some arrangement for seasonal maintenance. This will cover you if ever you have a pest issue, but that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed of your landlord’s obligation when that time comes.
Here is a more detailed look at what you have to do and the steps you need to take if you notice that you have a cockroach infestation in your apartment.
Steps to take
1. Eradicate any potential causes
Try to understand the reason as to why there is a roach problem. Clean out the entire apartment, empty all the trash, and ensure all areas are dry. Look out for cracks in walls and corners, clean up and sanitize food areas like your kitchen and dining areas, and eradicate any drainage issues. Make sure that dishes are washed after every meal. This way, you will have eliminated all potential roach attractors.
2. Inform your landlord
If all your efforts to eradicate the problem turn out to be futile, then there may be an in-house roach problem. This should be the first thing you should do: inform your building manager or landlord in writing. Communication and awareness are key, and these will help you down the line if the problem persists. Cockroaches tend to make homes in walls or sewers, especially in old buildings. Getting rid of cockroaches in an apartment needs a combined effort on the part of tenants, management, and pest control experts. Since roaches are often resilient to treatment by tenants, effective control requires a specialist. From this point, your landlord will probably contact pest control services.
Getting these services can be costly, whether or not you will be the one to pay, but you just have to get their assistance if indeed you still want to stay in the same apartment. The cost needs to be taken care of by your landlord, but you may be desperate at times and may cover the cost yourself. Check out your rental arrangement to be sure and if at the end of it you pay, you can invoice the landlord later on.
If you are the reason behind the pest infestation, note that you will not be assisted in any way, and may incur costs for extermination. Even worse, you might not get back your security deposit.
3. Take legal action
In situations where your landlord does nothing to fix your pest problem, the next steps to take are determined by the state or country that you live in. If you want to file a lawsuit against your landlord, you need to contact your local housing authority or a law representative to find out the best course of action for going about the same.
Note that it is never a good idea to withhold rent from your landlord as this will only create more problems with your management, and you may even be evicted or sued. You, therefore, need to take the best course of action to take care of the pest problem as smoothly as possible.
Measures to prevent future infestation
When you are sure that all the roach attractors have been removed from your apartment, it is recommended that you install cockroach traps and bait stations in the places that are most likely infested. You can make your traps yourself or purchase them from pesticide producers online or offline. Keep note that cockroaches breed quickly, meaning that even if you use baits and powder for months on end, chances are you will be obliged to repeat their diffusion in one or two months just to ensure that even newborns from the laid eggs are also eliminated.
Some measures need to take to prevent a cockroach population from infesting your home, again, and these are:
- Always ensure that dishes are washed and put away in due time to prevent food remains from piling up.
- Never leave food on counters or tables, because roaches are attracted to these remains.
- Ensure faulty plumbing and possible leakages are corrected.
- Normalize emptying and taking out the trash daily
- Repair all holes and cracks found in ceilings and walls.
- Finally, report any signs of cockroach infestation to the superintendent housing authority or management with immediate effect.
When faced with an infestation, you will need to use the services of a professional company of pest control. Some will offer extermination plans and some will deliver customized solutions, like Orkin. Managers need to communicate all plans concerning pest control meticulously to tenants to ensure that proper safety and preparatory measures are taken both before and after treatment is done.
Whenever cockroaches start to show up, always be sure to contact your landlord or house manager for help. The apartment complex is likely to have service arrangements with pest management companies, like Western Pest Services. When problems are noted, the company specialist conducts an inspection then prepares a roach management plan with techniques for cleaning up, elimination, reducing roach hiding places, and using listed cockroach baits, traps, and pesticide products.
How can you tell if an apartment has roaches before moving in?
Before you decide to move in, look out for these signs:
- Sighting of a cockroach: Cockroaches are nocturnal, and are most likely to come out at night to look for water and food. However, if you notice cockroaches in broad daylight, it means the infestation might be severe and has been going on for a while and the cockroaches might have come out due to overcrowding and fresh air in their shelters. Dead cockroaches do not always mean that the infestation has ended, and might still be ongoing.
- Cockroach droppings: Cockroaches typically feed on a wide variety of organic matter and tend to leave their fecal matter wherever they go due to their high rate of metabolism. Cockroach droppings can look like oval pellets, specks of black pepper, or coffee grounds, all depending on the species that is present. They all vary in size.
- Damage to property: Due to their diverse diet, roaches feed on literally anything that comes their way. They may leave behind chew marks on wallpaper, cardboard, or even leather. Inspect default apartment items for roach damage before you move in.
- Egg cases: Roaches breed aggressively, growing their populations very fast in favorable conditions. Roaches’ eggs develop in casings called oothecae, which are often deposited in rarely-disturbed protected areas like spaces under sinks or behind electronic appliances. Broken casings are an indication of a roach problem.
- Smear marks: If roaches can access water in the apartment, they tend to leave behind some irregular smear marks as they move about, especially on flat surfaces and at floor-and-wall junctions.
- Pungent odor: An established cockroach infestation will emit a lingering, musky, and oily odor that affects all parts of the infested house. If an apartment has been infested by German cockroaches, an odor will be present even if the roaches are not in large numbers. When Dead roaches decompose, they also release an unpleasant odor because of the oleic acid produced, which aid their bodies to decompose.
- Shes skin: cockroaches have an outer cuticle that is rigid and does not stretch, so they require molting to grow. Roaches look for a secure location to shed this skin, and so if you find these cuticles lying around, know that the apartment is infested.
Sometimes, having roaches in your apartment does not mean that you are untidy. A lot of times, they usually come from another apartment in your complex. They can move from house to house via the plumbing within a common wall. To keep them away, you can use window screens and also seal any gaps around doors and windows to keep the cockroaches outside. Other cockroach entry points include drains and sewers.
Cockroaches cannot stand the smell of essential oils, especially peppermint oil. Spray some of this all around the house to keep them away. Mixing peppermint oil with vinegar helps to expel even other pests like spiders. If you have no access to peppermint oil, other essential oils include lavender oil, rosemary oil, and lemon oil. Also, note that these oils have a pleasant smell that soothes you and keeps you relaxed, so using them is like killing two birds with one stone.
Citrus smells also deter cockroaches, even though you may like them yourself. Therefore, you can use citrus-scented cleansers in places like the bathroom and kitchen to keep those pesky creatures away.