8 Signs of Mice in Your Rental Property

When, Where and How to Spot Mice in Your Rental

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Keeping the rental property clean and free from pests is one of the main responsibilities of a landlord. Although mice are tiny, they leave very clear signs that they have entered your property. Learn the best times to look for mice, the best places to look for mice and the eight signs that you may have a mouse problem. 

5 Best Times to Look for Signs of Mice

It is important to always be keeping a close eye on your property for the first signs of a pest because infestations can develop very quickly. There are certain times, however, when it is particularly important to look for signs of mice. These include.

  1. When First Purchase Property- You should examine the property for signs of mice when you first buy the property. If you have a problem, it will be easier to see and much easier to get rid of before tenants are living in the unit.
  2. Tenant Turnover- When a tenant moves out of a unit, you should look for signs of mice. If you find anything, it will be easier to take care of before the next tenant moves in. Taking care of the situation will also help prevent a future tenant from complaining about a mouse problem and potentially moving out if it cannot be fixed.
  1. When a Tenant Complains- If a tenant complains of scratching noises, chewed bags, droppings or even about actually seeing a mouse, you need to check out the situation immediately.​
  2. When You Have a Leak- If you have PVC piping and have a water leak, you should always examine the pipe for signs of mice. Mice are able to chew through these pipes if the pipes are not properly protected.​
  3. At Night- Mice are nocturnal, so if you are looking for the actual mouse, your best chance of seeing them is at night. You may also be able to track the mouse to get a better idea of where the nest is.

    4 Places to Look for Signs of Mice

    A mouse is not going to hang out in the middle of a room. They are creatures of habit, therefore, there are specific places you should look for signs.

    1. Along Walls and In Corners of Rooms- A mouse will usually travel the perimeter of a room. You should look for droppings or holes in the walls.​
    2. Near Pipes- Mice need water. A mouse could use a leaky pipe as a water source or may even chew through plastic piping.​
    3. Near Food- Mice often build their nests near food sources. Look for holes, droppings, footprints or gnawed bags in kitchens or pantries.​
    4. In Basements or Attics- Mice may choose to build their nests in basements or attics because they will be mostly undisturbed. Since they can climb, they can still climb along walls and pipes to get to their food source.

      8 Signs You Might Have a Mouse Problem

      Although mice are nocturnal, there are certain clues that they leave behind which you can see even in the daylight.

      1. Droppings- After a mouse eats, it will go to the bathroom. Their droppings are small pellets, about ¼ inch long, with pointed ends.​
      2. Footprints- If a mouse walks through dust, you may be able to see its footprints. The footprints are small, usually less than half an inch long.​
      3. Holes in Bags/Boxes- Mice will chew through bags in search of food. If you notice gnawing, it may be a sign of mice.​
      4. Holes in Walls- You may notice a hole in the wall or in the molding. It doesn’t have to be large, mice can fit through cracks as small as ¼ of an inch.​
      1. Hearing Scratching or Squeaking- You or your tenants may be able to hear the mice in the walls, especially at night.​
      2. Nests- Mice like to make nests out of soft material such as insulation or newspaper. If you find a pile of these materials, it could be home to these little critters.​
      3. Odor- This will be especially noticeable if you have a large infestation. You may notice a musky odor or you may even be able to smell their urine.​
      4. Mouse, Alive or Dead- If you see a mouse, alive or dead, it is likely there is more than one in your property.

        2 Ways to Tell It’s a Mouse

        It can be difficult to determine if the rodent at your property is a mouse or something else, such as a rat.

        1. Droppings- Mouse droppings are smaller in size, usually about ¼ of an inch. Compare this to a rat, whose droppings are larger, usually between ½ and ¾ of an inch.​
        2. Footprints- Mice also have smaller feet than rats. According to, FamilyEducation.com, their footprints will be about 3/8 of an inch long, whereas a rat will have a large foot, between ¾ and one inch. Rats will also drag their tails.