How many people think about roaches before moving into a newly rented apartment?
But that’s one of the biggest mistakes that tenants can make.
It’s a recipe for not only sleepless nights, but also it entails hefty expenses on pest control.
This post is a gold mine for tenants.
It’ll guide you on how to tell an apartment has roaches before you decide to move in.
And it’ll also clarify what you should do if you find roaches – break the lease or continue with it.
So, let’s begin.
How And Where To Look For Roaches In A New Apartment
Many people make the mistake of not looking for signs of roaches or other bugs before moving in.
They sign the lease.
It’s only after a week or two they realize that whoa! “We’ve roaches, we’ve bed bugs, we’ve termites!”
That’s an unpleasant surprise.
And it turns out to be too late to do anything about it with the landlord.
So, it’d be better for you is to look for roach infestation in your new apartment.
The best is you do the inspection before signing the lease.
Here’s how you should look for roaches in a new apartment, no matter if you’re buying it or renting.
You Should Know Where Roaches Can Hide In An Empty Apartment
An empty apartment has a different scenario altogether for roaches.
There are no food droppings and new trash for them to feed on.
Lack of water usage in an empty apartment also limits their hiding places.
So, you need to know where to look for roaches in a new apartment.
Here’s the list of places where roaches in an empty apartment are most likely to hide –
It’s the favorite place for roaches to hide in an empty apartment.
Ample amount of moisture.
Roaches love dampness. They need it to survive.
So, while inspecting your new apartment for roaches before moving, look in all the drains.
Don’t miss the kitchen drain, bathroom drain, kitchen sink drain, bathroom sink drain, and even the laundry room’s drains.
The rule is – look for roaches in rooms where there’s the frequent use of water.
The best way to check is by removing the drain strainers from all the drains.
If there’s a roach infestation, then 9 times out of 10, you’ll find baby roaches scurrying out of the drain.
Cabinets, Drawers, and Wardrobe
Roaches hide in tight spaces that don’t receive much natural light.
So, look for roaches in places like kitchen cabinets, drawer chests, wardrobe, or closet.
If there is furniture with drawers in the living room and bedroom, check them out too.
Chances are roaches have built their nests in these tight places.
Do a thorough inspection of the kitchen and bathroom.
If there are any places in an apartment where roaches prefer in an apartment, they’re a kitchen and bathroom.
Both the kitchen and bathroom have enough moisture that they need.
Plus, if the homeowner has left the apartment unoccupied and uncleaned, there’s enough waste for the roaches to feed on.
Many tenants, when they move out from an apartment, they don’t clean it well.
So, they can leave enough waste in places like the kitchen and bathroom for the roaches to feed on.
Most of the time, people forget to empty or clean the trash bins in the kitchen and bathroom.
That leaves enough food and organic waste for the roaches to eat.
Look at the corners, near the windows, and even at the top of kitchen cabinets.
Roaches are good at hiding in tight spaces, in small cracks and gaps.
Look For Roach Wings, Roach Feces, And Roach Eggs
There are a few more apparent signs of roaches that you must be eagle-eyed for before moving into a new apartment.
They’re roach wings, roach feces or poop, and roach eggs.
Roach wings are of the dead roaches.
And why should it bother you?
Because there’s an entire functioning food chain active in the apartment.
Ants eat the dead roaches and leave the wings behind. And lizards eat live roaches.
But sometimes, the wings break off while lizards are swallowing the roaches.
So, no matter where you find roach wings inside the apartment, that’s a clear sign of roach infestation.
Roach feces and roach eggs should also ring the alarm bells.
The most common places where you can find roach feces and eggs are in the bathroom, kitchen, drawers, and bed.
If there’s a bed with a mattress, then flip over the mattress.
You may come across roach feces and eggs underneath the mattress.
Being left unused for days makes mattresses and beds go-to places for roaches to make nests and lay eggs.
Roaches also make nests behind large appliances like refrigerators and washing machines.
You can also find roach nests in kitchen cabinets, bookshelf, bedroom drawers, and wardrobe.
Roach nests don’t look like a nest of a bird or termite.
Roach nests are just jumbled-up baby roaches with lots of roach feces, filth, and hatched eggs.
Also, check the rear of large furniture in the apartment, mainly when the furniture’s backside is sticking with the wall.
Pull the furniture away from the wall and check the back for roaches.
Suppose there are roaches at the back of the furniture. In that case, you’ll observe many roaches scurrying from the backside of the furniture.
Look For Roaches In The Plumbing Area
Another critical area that you shouldn’t miss while looking for roaches in a new apartment is the plumbing area.
Plumbing areas near the kitchen sink, kitchen island, bathroom vanity, laundry room, near the toilet basin are where the roaches live.
These areas are dark, moist, and hard to reach, which makes them perfect for roaches.
If there’s a medicine cabinet in the bathroom, look around its edges and insides for roach eggs and roach feces.
Lack of human activity and light makes these places a perfect nesting and breeding place for roaches.
And Finally, Live Roaches
The apartment certainly has roach infestations if you see live roaches.
The presence of roaches in a new apartment tells you four crucial things you should keep in mind before moving in.
- The apartment isn’t clean or hasn’t been cleaned for ages.
- There are other bugs in the apartment, like silverfish, that roaches are feeding on.
- The moisture content in the apartment is high. It means that there’s some water leakage problem in the apartment.
- There can be black ants, red ants, and lizards. All of them eat roaches.
My Apartment Has Roaches, Can I Break The Lease?
That would be the first question in your head if you’ve spotted roaches in the apartment before moving in.
There are two options for you.
First, inform the apartment owner about roach infestation and ask for complete pest control of the apartment.
Without that, you shouldn’t think about moving in.
Make sure you take photos that prove roaches’ presence in the apartment.
The owner should do the pest treatment from his own pocket to get rid of roaches.
You shouldn’t pay for it.
Second, you can break the lease.
Breaking a lease can be tricky if you don’t have a good reason for breaking it.
That’s why always take photos of any damage or roaches’ presence in the apartment.
You should consider breaking the lease when the landlord is unwilling to co-operate.
When we say unwilling to co-operate, it means the landlord is refusing the pest control treatment and giving you excuses.
The way to break the lease is by sending a letter to a landlord and photos of roach infestation as proof.
Never ever give in to the option of doing the pest control from your pocket, and whatever the expenses are, you can deduct it from the rent that you’ll pay.
Because it’s not written in the lease.
There have been many instances when the landlord later denied that the tenant did any pest control.
You don’t want to get into that kind of trouble.
But don’t forget to take legal help before breaking the lease.
The chances of a roach infestation in a newly rented apartment is relatively high.
Especially when the apartment is in an old locale.
Before moving in, you must do your due diligence in finding out if there’s a roach infestation.
Here’s how you should check for roaches’ presence in an apartment before moving in –
- Check for roaches in the drains of the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
- Check places where it’s hard for the light to reach – drawers, wardrobe, cabinets, bookshelves, and closet.
- Do a thorough inspection of all the corners and storage areas in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Look out for roach wings, roach nests, roach feces, and roach eggs in hard-to-reach places like behind large appliances, furniture, and underneath the mattress.
- Check the plumbing areas of the entire apartment.
- And if you see live roaches, then it’s a clear sign of roaches’ presence.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.