How To Get Rid Of Mice In Apartments: Complete Guide

Kristi Stevens

12 minutes read

As a property manager, it's your job to ensure the complex assigned to you remains rodent and pest-free. 

So here’s something that isn’t surprising:

Mice can become very unwelcome guests.

These critters are a common house pest, and they’re far from pleasant. They chew through insulation, leave feces behind, spread germs, and disgust tenants. 

But how do you get rid of them and guarantee that your apartment complex remains rodent-free?

These are great questions. 

In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about getting rid of mice. Then, we'll teach you how to keep them away and manage this "pest threat" in your apartment building once and for all. 

Identify the Problem: How To Detect a Mouse Infestation

First off, property managers are responsible for managing pest control in their complexes. Being aware of your responsibilities is a great way to get a jump on the situation. 

But part of this duty falls on your tenants as well. So review the lease documents to see who's responsible for what, pest-control-wise.

The renter of an apartment unit is generally on the hook for reporting any rodent problems they notice. Yet, tenants may also be responsible for covering certain preventative measures. 

For instance, paying a certain percentage of the pest removal costs if it turns out they caused the infestation. 

But as a general rule, it's usually up to the apartment manager and staff to deal with this issue. You're kind of like the homeowner, in this sense.

Now, let's talk about how you can identify the problem and catch a mouse infestation before it gets out of control. 

1. Watch Out for Mouse Droppings

Mouse droppings look a lot like tiny black grains of rice. 

Mice have to defecate, and they'll tend to do it in the areas where they're spending the most time. 

These droppings can clue you into where these pests live.

2. Keep an Eye Out for Mice – Alive or Dead

If you find dead mice, it’s a sign that you've got a mouse problem. 

And if you manage to see a live mouse out-and-about during the day, that's a pretty good indicator you have an extensive infestation. 

Mice like to remain hidden; seeing them during the day means there are plenty more you don't see!

3. Learn the Scent of Mouse Urine

Few people know what mouse urine smells like (thank goodness). 

But those who've smelled it tend to remember it. 

It's strong and smells a bit like ammonia. 

The odor is usually one of the first signs you'll notice and is a sure-bet that mice are infesting your property. 

4. Listen for Squeaking and Scratching

There are a few telltale signs that there’s a mouse infestation in the complex, such as hearing squeaking or scratching:

  • Under furniture
  • Inside the walls
  • From small spaces between the walls
  • Behind door sweeps
  • Under trash cans
  • Between kitchen appliances

Mice want to avoid detection by humans. So the fact that you're hearing them means that there are a lot of them. ​​​​

5. Keep Your Eyes Open for Nesting Material

Mouse nesting material consists of shredded fibrous materials. Common nesting materials include paper, string, cloth, wires, food wrappers, and insulation.

Look for shredded-up material in drawers, cupboard corners, and boxes. If you notice these signs, a little gang of house mouse intruders is trying to make a home and start a family inside the complex. 

6. Watch for Mouse Chewing Damage

Mice tend to gnaw on non-food source materials to keep their teeth sharpened and honed. 

Check behind wooden shelves, in cabinets, and along baseboards for gnaw marks that could signal a mouse infestation. 

7. Pay Attention to Signs of an Infestation

If left unchecked, an infestation can wreak havoc on your entire apartment complex. Mice can spread germs and odors. But even worse is the structural harm and electrical damage they cause by gnawing on wires and wood.

This problem isn't one you "forget about." 

But how do you handle them?

A mouse-free complex is great for keeping occupancy rates high. Discover 13 Unique Ways to Boost Your Resident Retention.

Option #1: Let Pest Control Handle the Problem for You


As a property manager, you likely have a specific pest control service on speed-dial for these exact situations.

And to be honest, this is the best approach to take. 

It's also handy if you manage several apartment complexes and don't have the time to get rid of the infestation on your own. 

Yes, it's tempting to want to handle the problem yourself. 

But here's the issue. 

A qualified pest control specialist will know exactly what to do to eliminate this problem as quickly as possible.

Even if you're great at setting mouse traps, calling an exterminator is your best bet for eliminating the problem

Of course, some property managers do decide to handle their mouse problems in-house. If that's your preferred approach, keep reading!

Option #2: Handle the Mouse Problem Yourself


Getting rid of a mouse problem on your own, DIY style, starts with a few different tools. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • Snap traps
  • Glue traps
  • Peanut butter (makes excellent bait for the mouse traps)
  • A poison bait station (like these, which you can buy on Amazon)
  • Steel wool
  • Caulk
  • Cotton balls and peppermint oil (yes, this is a real thing, we'll talk about it in a minute)
  • Mice repellent
  • A safe food storage solution that won't attract any more critters

Now, let's talk about how you can use these supplies for DIY mouse control to get rid of the pesky vermin once and for all. 

Getting Rid of Mice at the Apartment Level

From your role, it's difficult to know whether there's a mouse infestation going on inside a unit unless the tenants report it. 

For this reason, you're more likely going to end up treating an infestation in the maintenance and public areas of the apartment complex. 

But when they’re living in a unit, the complex's lease agreement should give you specific guidelines for:

  • Who's responsible for getting rid of mice
  • Who's responsible for paying for the extermination
  • What counts as an "infestation"

Sometimes, it'll be up to the renter to get rid of the problem. But usually, this task will fall to the property manager. 

The best way to deal with this is to contact an exterminator. 

Yet, if you're dead-set on getting rid of mice on your own, here are some techniques that you can use to quell the infestation at the apartment level. 

1. Set Snap Traps

This strategy is pretty straightforward. 

Set up some simple snap traps, and bait them with peanut butter. Then, place them near the garbage can, on the counter where dirty dishes sit, in the closet, or anywhere else the mice may travel. 

You could also pass some of these traps off to the tenant and ask them to set them. 

2. Place Glue Traps

As an alternative to snap traps, you can also use glue traps. 


Traps of any kind may not work in an apartment where animals or small children run around. In such cases, special care is necessary to place the traps out of reach.

3. Set Up a Poison Bait Station

A poison bait station works well because it keeps pets out of the poison while still giving small vermin (like mice) access to it. 

For best results, use poison bait stations in conjunction with traps. 

4. Use Steel Wool To Block Holes Until You Can Plug Them Permanently

You can stick steel wool into small holes in the wall or the backs of cabinets/closets to block them. Sure, mice may try to chew through the steel wool. But in doing so, they'll likely ingest some of the steel and die from it. 

5. Tell Your Tenants To Use Peppermint Oil and Cotton Balls

Give your tenants some peppermint oil and cotton balls. Then, instruct them to soak the cotton balls in the oil and place them in areas where mice may enter or exit the apartment. 

Mice hate the strong smell of peppermint and will try to avoid it. 

Let tenants know they may need to repeat this process as the oils dry out and lose their potency. 

Getting Rid Of Mice In Maintenance/Public Areas

Getting rid of mice in public areas will involve the same five steps that we discussed above.

But there is one extra step that you can take in these areas to end the mouse problem:

6. Use Mice Repellent

Mice repellent usually comes in a liquid spray that you can apply to the outside of your complex to keep mice and other critters at bay. 

There are many different types of repellent available on Amazon. For example, you can get natural peppermint spray. Or you can try other types to control entry points where mice may gain access to your complex. 

Dealing with a severe infestation? A unit transfer may be the answer. Read Everything That Property Managers Need to Know About Unit Transfers.

How To Prevent a Future Mouse Infestation


When it comes to little rodents like mice, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

So let's talk about how to prevent a future mouse infestation in your apartment complex. 

1. Identify What Drew the Mice Into Your Complex

Mice usually enter dwellings in search of food. Mice prefer dirty areas where there are scraps of food they can consume. And they generally only stick around if they find it. 

So figure out what the mice might have been eating and get rid of it. 

If you can keep things tidy, you'll be much less likely to suffer an infestation in the future. 

2. Keep Things Clean

Clean up anything that may interest a mouse's palate.

This step is where those clean food containers come in. Make sure that tenants put food away after use and that you remind tenants of this guideline.

You can also limit rodent hiding spots by discarding empty boxes and storing items in a neat and secure location.

3. Identify and Seal Off Any Entry Points

To make sure that mice don't get into apartments or rooms, seal off any entry points. 

You can do this with caulk, though sometimes you'll need to repair holes so that mice can't find a way back inside. 

Mice can slip through some pretty small cracks. For best results, caulk any opening that could let a little critter through. 

4. Remind Tenants of Their Responsibilities in Preventing Infestation

The best strategy is always prevention. Don’t forget to remind tenants that they're also responsible for preventing rodent infestations.

Offer them simple suggestions like:

  • Putting pet food away at night
  • Cleaning kitchen areas to remove scraps
  • Cleaning up messes 
  • Emptying the trash every night before turning the lights out

As a general rule, mice like clutter and dirtiness. And if you can get rid of these things, you're more likely to reduce the odds of a future infestation.

See Also: Leasing Consultant Interview Questions: The 15 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring


Now you know how to get rid of mice in an apartment — for good. 

A mouse infestation isn't something that any property manager wants to handle.

But, unfortunately, these four-legged, spindly-tailed little vermin are common. And they love to track down scraps and messes so that they can find a home, build nests, and give birth to its young. 

Yet, if you act fast, you can solve the problem. 

With the right gear (or the right exterminator), a little effort, and a bit of planning, you can rest assured that your problem won't be a permanent one.

Now that your units are mice-free, it’s time to fill them with the perfect tenants with the help of the LeaseLeads widget. Schedule a LeaseLeads demo today to learn more!

Kristi Stevens

Content strategist - My mission is to fuel the growth of the multi-family industry by crafting impactful blog content and innovative solutions.


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