What to do if there are rats in your rental home

If you suspect you have rats in your rental property it is time to do something about it. Rats can be a problematic pest, spreading disease, contaminating food, and causing damage. They can be annoying to deal with, but fortunately, there are a lot of tools to help you stop an infestation.

So, if you suspect you may have rats in your home here is all you need to know about stopping and preventing an infestation.

What are the most common rats in Australia?

The most common rats and mice found in Australian homes are the black rat, the brown rat, and the house mouse. Often, if there is development happening nearby, mice and rats may get disturbed, especially from land clearing of their natural habitats. This pushes them towards homes.  

What are the signs of a rat problem?

It is more likely that you spot signs of rats in your home rather than the rats themselves. The first thing you may see are rat droppings. These are dark brown and are a tapered, spindle shape, kind of like a grain of rice. As rats produce on average 40 droppings per night you will likely spot these around the house.

Another common sign is scratching sounds at night. Rats or mice in your walls and ceiling will scurry around and make scratching noises as they do. Often black rats will be heard in your upper floors or roof, while brown rats will be found under decking, floorboards, and sheds.

Rats tend to also have poor eyesight. Because of this they will stick around established routes along skirting boards and walls. As they do so, they will rub against your walls, leaving black marks from the dirt and grease they pick up. If you find these kinds of marks on your walls around the same locations it could be a sign of rats.

Finally, another sign of rodents is scratched up newspaper, fabric, or other similar materials around the home. Rats love to build nests with these materials. They will scratch them up and take them to their nest. Their nest could be under your kitchen appliances or in other dark and warm locations.

Why are their rats in my home?

Rats love places that have food, water, and shelter. If they have been disturbed out of their natural habitat, they will go looking for anywhere that has these three things freely available to them. They will sniff out exposed food and can crawl through very small holes to find it. As well as this, they will also chew through pipes, wires, and insulation if given the opportunity.

How to get rid of a rat infestation

If you have a rat infestation it is vital that you deal with it as soon as possible. Rats cause disease and can cause damage to the property. The best way to deal with rats is to call a pest control expert. They will have the tools required to effectively end the infestation and help prevent future infestations. An expert will also likely be able to find potential sources of the infestation, such as entrance points or food storage issues.

Are landlords or tenants responsible for a rat infestation?

This depends on the cause of the infestation. The property should have been in a clean condition when you move in. If you do find rats or mice the first thing you should do is contact your property manager about the problem. They will be able to arrange a pest control professional to deal with the problem. However, who pays for the removal of the rodents depends on the following factors:

  • What the lease agreement says about pest control
  • Whether the rats were an existing problem when you moved in
  • If structural problems with the property allowed them to enter the property. For example, if a hole in the kitchen wall has let the rodents in the house.
  • Or if you, the tenant, have contributed to the problem. For example, by not removing rubbish, leaving food out, or more.


Rats should be dealt with as soon as possible. They can cause major damage to the property and the health of the occupants. If you need further advice on how to deal with pests in your property and want advice on how this relates to your lease agreement, reach out to Link Living for a chat.  

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