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What Should I Do If My Neighbor Has Rats?

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

Rats will go wherever they can find food, water, warmth, shelter, and safety. Even if you do all you can to deprive rats of these factors, there’s no guarantee that your neighbors will be as proactive.

If one neighbor gets rats, it may not be long before the entire neighborhood is adversely affected.

Let your neighbor know about their rat problem, explaining the causes, risks, and what can be done to resolve the situation.

Everything from an unruly yard to feeding squirrels and birds to garbage management can attract rodents. It may be that an entirely different neighbor is causing the problem.

Be diplomatic when speaking to your neighbor about a rat problem. False accusations can lead to a poor relationship with your neighbor, so working on the problem together is recommended.

What To Do If Your Neighbor Has Rats

If your neighbor has a rat problem, these pests will likely make their way into your home.

Rats will flee from the poison or traps and seek refuge in your home. Also, rats breed and multiply quickly, so they need new places to live.

If you notice that rats are coming from your neighbor’s property, here are some steps you can take to keep rats away from your home:

Determine The Source of Rats

When dealing with a rat problem in your neighborhood, you need to assess your home for conditions that may attract rodents.

You don’t want to accuse your neighbor falsely if your home has rat attractants, such as:

  • Unsealed garbage bins
  • Leaking pipes
  • Exposed pet food
  • Compost pits

According to the Journal of Pest Science, older buildings are more susceptible to rat infestations than new buildings because their structures have been compromised by wear and tear.

neighbors yard has rats

Inform Your Neighbor

If you’re sure that the rats are coming from your neighbor’s property, you’ll need to raise the issue with your neighbor. Avoid being accusatory or confrontational, which can trigger defensive behavior.

The objective is to emphasize the mutual goal of creating a pest-free environment, and your neighbors may not be aware that their homes create ideal conditions for pests.

Contributing To Extermination Costs

Your neighbor may lack the resources to hire a pest control expert. If this is the case, you may decide to contribute toward the cost of extermination.

Doing so makes your neighbor more receptive to your concerns and incentivizes the neighbor to open up their home to an exterminator.

Seal Entry Points

If your neighbor isn’t receptive to your concerns, you’ll need to do what you can to minimize the risk of rats entering your home. Of course, you should do this anyway.

According to the University of Nebraska, rats can squeeze through any opening more than ½ inch in diameter. Seal all gaps and openings on the walls, roof, and floor that rats can use to enter the home.

Ensure that any entry points are covered, regardless of their size. Your goal is to eliminate any entry points so that rats can’t move between homes.

Keeping your outdoor space clean and tidy reduces the number of nesting areas for rats.

Control Service

If rats have gained entry to your home and your neighbor isn’t responding to your concerns, you should enlist the services of a pest control expert.

Local Health Department

If your neighbors are unwilling to resolve the issue after being made aware of it, you may have no alternative but to contact your local health department.

Each U.S. state has a different process in place for dealing with rodent problems.

Neighbor’s Yard Has Rats

If your neighbors refuse to maintain their yards, they may attract rats, which will nest in their grass, woodpiles, discarded tree limbs, and other areas.

Raise the issue with your neighbor, as it’s possible the neighbor isn’t aware of a rodent problem. Therefore, initiating a polite conversation will allow you to find an amicable solution.

In certain situations, your neighbor may be aware of the problem but unable to do anything about it. For example, your neighbor may lack the money to hire a pest control service.

If that’s the case, you can offer to contribute to the cost of extermination.

Neighbor’s Rubbish Attracting Rats

If you have a neighbor who leaves out their trash or allows it to pile up, this will cause a rat problem in and around your neighbor’s home.

Poor garbage management is an environmental issue that poses a health and safety risk in any neighborhood. Therefore, you need to take the necessary steps to deal with the situation.

Make your neighbor aware of the garbage problem and its risk to everyone. Avoid making direct accusations, as this can make your neighbor less agreeable and spark heated confrontations.

Mention that you’ve noticed a build-up of garbage on the property and are concerned that it could cause a rodent problem in the neighborhood.

If your neighbor seems unconcerned and refuses to take action to remedy the situation, you’ll need to escalate the matter. For example, if you live in a shared apartment building, you can inform your building management team of the problem.

neighbors rubbish attracting rats

Neighbor’s Chickens Attracting Rats

Chickens don’t attract rats. However, their feed can entice rats if it’s not stored properly by the owner or if chickens are overfeeding and leaving a lot of leftovers.

If you notice your neighbor’s chicken feed is attracting rats, strike up a conversation with the person about this issue. Ask the neighbor to move the coup away from your property line to minimize the risk of rodents spreading from that property.

If your neighbor doesn’t compromise, you may need to address the issue with your local health department. They’ll likely send someone to evaluate the situation and inspect the neighbor’s property.

Neighbor Feeding Birds Attracting Rats

When done correctly, bird feeding doesn’t need to attract rodents. However, if your neighbor leaves birdseed unattended, rats may find this food desirable.

If you discover that a neighbor’s birdseed is attracting rats, raise your concerns with a neighbor politely. Allow them to respond to your issue and offer practical solutions that can be implemented.

For example, you can recommend bird-feeder attachments that minimize seed spillage.

Who Is Responsible For Getting Rid Of Rats In a Neighborhood?

If you live in a rental property, your landlord should ensure your home is safe and habitable in exchange for the rent you pay.

The landlord must eliminate rats and other pests that affect the property. However, the tenant is responsible for ensuring their property is clean, internally and externally.

So, while the landlord must ensure the home is fit for habitation, the landlord may require a tenant to resolve a rat problem if it’s determined that it was caused by poor housekeeping.

No legislation explicitly states that landlords are responsible for resolving a rodent problem in their rental properties. However, the law requires that landlords ensure their buildings are fit for habitation.

So, inform your landlord if there’s a rat infestation in your home, irrespective of fault. If structural defects have caused a rat infestation in the building, the landlord must cover the removal cost.