It is very common for renters to contact us for help with a bat problem.  Sometimes they are frustrated or even frightened because their landlord doesn’t seem to be taking the situation seriously.  In this article we will discuss:

  • Why your landlord might be dragging his or her feet & how you can partner with them to solve the problem.
  • What rights you may have & where you can find help.
  • How Get Bats Out can help in this situation.

Why does it seem like your landlord doesn’t want to solve the problem?

Get Bats Out has done bat removal for many apartment buildingsIt is almost always best to try and partner with your landlord in solving a problem instead of creating an adversarial situation.  Hiring a lawyer, getting your landlord in trouble with the health department or getting your story on the news makes for a horrible long term relationship with the person you are depending on to provide you with a well maintained home.

There are at least four possible reasons why you are not getting help:

Reason One:  Your landlord may not understand the seriousness of the situation.  Until you’ve had a bat flying in your bedroom, it is hard to understand how a person feels.  While some might view the situation as humorous, many people are upset and scared when this happens.  Your living space is a place you are supposed to feel safe, especially at night.

Solution:  Instead of getting insistent or demanding, try educating your landlord.  There is plenty of information on this website you can share.  Maybe even share a link to this article?  Your landlord may not understand his potential liability or the property damage he is suffering.  Does he or she know what the Center for Disease Control recommends in regard to getting rabies shots if you have a bat in your house?  Is he aware they cost more than $3500 per person?  Is he going to cover that cost?  How about the risk of Histoplasmosis?  Is he okay with guano piling up inside the attic, ceiling or walls?

Try this:  “Hey Mr. Jones – I know you are busy, but as I mentioned last week, we had a bat in the house.  I just found this article that points out this may be a serious situation for you and my family.  Does your insurance cover us getting rabies shots if we need them?  Check out this article at www.GetBatsOut.com

Reason Two:  To properly exclude bats from a home and then bat proof it can sometimes be much more expensive than a home owner is expecting.  Maybe your landlord can’t afford to get the work done at this time?

Solution:  Help your landlord find a reputable company that will accept a payment plan (we do).  Or download our insurance guide, read it and offer to assist your landlord in getting help from his home owner’s insurance policy.  Or perhaps you can offer to assist with the cost in return for reduced rent payments until you are paid back?

Reason Three:  Your landlord doesn’t want to spend the money.  While it is your home, it is your landlord’s investment property.  His goal is to earn a profit and perhaps he sees this expenditure as an unnecessary cost.

Solution:  The answer here is again educating your landlord.  Help him see the short shortsightedness and risk he or she is taking by neglecting this problem.  While it may be painful to spend the money now, it will only get more expensive with time.  He or she needs to understand:

  • His property is being damaged by the nightly build up of guano and urine in the attic, walls or ceiling. 
  • His insurance company will likely not help him if he doesn’t take steps to protect his property when he becomes aware of ongoing damage.
  • He will likely not be able to sell the home without taking care of the problem.  If he doesn’t disclose the problem, he is still on the hook for the costs for 24 months after the sale.  We’ve acted as expert witnesses in these cases.  It happens all the time.
  • Everyday the bats are in the property and he does not act to protect his tenants, he is facing significant liability.  While death from rabies in the United States is quite rare, the cases that do happen are most often from bats in the home.  However, the risk of rabies creates a much more common expense.  Thousands of people each year get post exposure rabies shots at the advice of their doctor and the Center for Disease Control.  These shots cost at least $3500 per person (occasionally there is a shortage of the serum.  One year one of our clients paid $10,000 for her shots after she woke up with bats in her room!).  It would be a poor investment decision to neglect the cost of the work, end up paying for a family to get their shots, and still need to get the work done.
  • Much more common than rabies is a disease called Histoplasmosis that can be contracted from exposure to bat guano (not all bat guano contains the fungus that causes the disease, conditions have to be right).  In a commercial setting, we are often finally hired after someone has gotten sick and the landlord is paying for health care, paying to move tenants to a new apartment, and can no longer rent out part of their property.

After properly weighing these costs your landlord should see the value in protecting his or her long term interests.

Reason Four:  Sometimes it is difficult to get the owner’s attention.  Maybe you rent from a large company and your point of contact is a manager who doesn’t  have the authority to spend any money on bat removal – and you don’t know how to contact the decision makers.  Or maybe your landlord is just too busy to be bothered.

Solution:  Get some attention.  Sometimes you have to be a little creative to get noticed.  Here are a few ways to get some attention:

  • Put your message in writing (keep a copy).  If you hand the manager something in writing – it is easy for him or her to hand it along to the decision maker.  If all you do is complain on the phone, your message likely doesn’t get portrayed correctly.
  • Have an attorney write a letter for you.  Don’t make it adversarial – the fact you went to the expense of having the attorney write the letter will get attention.  The attorney’s letter can kindly inform the landlord of the situation you (and by extension he) is in.  Again, if you want to continue to live in this home, it is best to ask your attorney to approach the situation from a “let’s solve the problem together” point of view instead of an adversarial one.
  • Be the squeaky wheel.  Round up a petition, send a daily email.
  • Contact your landlord through social media.  Don’t leave a scathing review – but let them know you are not happy, you are not getting attention, you don’t feel safe – and that you know where to leave a review if you have to.  Your landlord is likely interested in protecting his or her online reputation.
  • Here is a creative idea:  Send your landlord an invoice for a deposit against rabies shots.  Include it with your partial rent payment.  It won’t stick – but it will get past the manager who has no authority.  The manager can’t pay the invoice.  Nor can he or she accept a partial payment in the owner’s behalf, so he will have no choice but to forward the situation/invoice to the owner.

The idea here is to get important information to the decision maker – without making an enemy or causing your landlord permanent harm (press, bad reviews online, health department, etc).  You are looking for a friend/partner/ally – not a fight.

Okay I’ve Tried All That and My Landlord Still Hasn’t Solved the Problem

You do have rights.  Every state is different, but all states have laws to protect renters from neglect and abuse.  One of the most common legal rights found in each state reads something like this:

“Residential rental units should be habitable and in compliance with housing and health codes—meaning they should be structurally safe, sanitary, weatherproofed, and include adequate water, electricity, and heat.”  (we highlighted the applicable words in bold).

To find the laws specific to your state try a Google search for “landlord tenant [your state]” or “attorney general [your state]” or “renter protection laws [your state]”.

You can also call the public health department.

IMPORTANT:  While it may be beneficial to let your landlord know you are aware you have rights, and it may be empowering to know you have rights – exercising them to force the hand of your landlord may not be in your long term best interest.  What seems like an emergency today may not be a big deal tomorrow.  Are you prepared to move over this issue? (note:  if you ARE prepared to move over this issue, neglect to care for the situation on the part of your landlord likely gives you legal grounds to break your lease.)

How Can Get Bats Out Help Me?

We have three goals in a landlord/tenant situation.

  1. Protect our client’s (your landlord) property and reputation.
  2. Render the situation safe (for you).
  3. Exclude the bats as humanely as possible (we do not kill bats).

Here is how we can assist in accomplishing all three goals.

To protect our client’s property we exclude the bats, bat proof the home or building and clean up the guano left behind.  We are also interested in protecting our client’s reputation.  Material harm can come to all parties if the situation is either blown out of proportion or if an adversarial situation develops.  Our goal is to educate everyone and help broker a peaceful resolution.

For a variety of reasons, some people have a real fear of bats.  We respect your feelings, and one way we can help (besides getting them out of your home) is to provide you with the education you need to feel in control of your situation.   Bats in buildings are much more common than people realize.  While it is potentially a serious situation, there are logical and reasonable ways to address the problem.

If you are getting bats inside your rented home, please read the article Do You Have a Bat in Your House Right Now?.  Reading this article may help you avoid costly rabies shots.  If you are trying to help your landlord with his insurance company, the article Will My Insurance Company Help? will be helpful.  Finally, if you are trying to educate your landlord about the seriousness of the situation you can refer him or her to this article you are reading right now.

The First Step – Get an Inspection

Before anything can be done, someone needs to inspect your home to put together a plan, scope of work and estimate.  Depending on the situation, we likely need your landlord’s permission to get on the roof – even if you are paying for the inspection.  In commercial settings (apartment buildings) we usually offer a free inspection, however we still need permission to walk and photograph the property.  To schedule an inspection click on the button below.

Your local bat removal expert,
Michael Koski

Get Bats Out Owner and President Michael Koski

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  • Jack

    September 27, 2019 | Reply

    I have been renting a house for about 3 months and we first noticed we had a bat problem when there was one in the basement. He would dive toward us when we would go downstairs and do laundry. The basement was pretty rough so I thought maybe he just got in there and couldn’t get out. Fast forward about 3 weeks later from the first bat encounter and during a major rain storm that dumped 7 inches we noticed our ceiling was leaking. We opened up the attic to see where the leak was and there Was a lot of bat droppings up there. I contacted my landlord and he didn’t seem to know what to do but he did say he had had the house bat proofed before and it was probably old droppings. Well the next day there were 6 bats flying in our house. The landlord never really did anything til we sent a video of a bat flying in our house. He got the bat proofed again but left all the bats up in the attic and doesn’t want to do anything about them. He makes it seem like we should do something about them. We have discussed breaking the lease and the landlord has verbally agreed we can break the lease as long as we clean up the house. I was wondering if he could try to legally keep us in the lease after we rented another apartment/house. I don’t want to pay for two apartments and pay for one that has a bat problem. I feel it isn’t fair to us because he never addressed that he had problems with bats in the past.

    • Tori Bruce

      September 30, 2019 | Reply

      I'm so sorry to hear about your rental situation. I can imagine how stressful that is! In your case, it all comes down to the contract/lease agreement you signed and how understanding the landlord will be in this situation. We are not lawyers - and you may need to consult with one if you think he is going to try and harm you financially over this matter. I really hope this ends good for you!

  • Ayla Gehner

    July 15, 2019 | Reply

    I live in a rented space and there is clearly an infestation in both our chimney and attic. We see the bats fly out at dusk every day. Our cats go crazy stalking our chimney because they can hear them even when we cant (and probably smell them). I have been in contact with the rental company and to my horror they suggested they were going to kill the bats. I told them there are strict guidelines for bat removal and that it has to be done in a way that will not cause any harm or death to the bats. They have since done nothing. I am expecting a baby in December, and today we found an adult brown bat in our home. He definitely did not fly around all night, as our cats would have DEFINITELY woken us trying to catch it. I'm extremely concerned about the guano and about how he got in. If I hire someone to consult us, can I use their expert analysis to move forward legally if necessary?

    • GetBatsOut

      July 15, 2019 | Reply

      Possibly depending on the company's expertise and reputation. We have served in this capacity many times. Legal issues such as these can be costly. Have you contact your local department of health?

  • Denise Durland

    April 1, 2019 | Reply

    I recently moved out of a duplex I was upstairs in this duplex. I told my landlords there was bats and critters in the Attic which I have video I sent my phone recording up there and video of many many bats and the insulation was full of guano. I now have histoplasmosis I have moved out then out for 2 months can I go back and sue my landlord for this. I have been sick for over two months this is not the first case of me being sick last year I was sick for roughly one month straight as well same diagnosis I have a nodule in my right lung granuloma. I just now was told what histoplasmosis is caused from after moving out I was not aware of this. Can I take my landlords to court and if so what can I sue them for

    • GetBatsOut

      April 1, 2019 | Reply

      That is definitely a great question for a lawyer. We are not qualified to offer you legal advice. I might suggest you find an attorney that specializes in medical conditions if possible. We hope you make a full and speedy recovery.

  • Batty

    February 16, 2019 | Reply

    I rented into a condo in FL and the lanai smelled so bad and the house smells like cat urine at times. The maintenance man says there is bat guano on the screen roof in the lanai and pressure washed it. My husband and the neighbor watched about 40 bats leaving from under the eaves. My head aches all the time and my asthma is horrible. My husband told the condo association and someone put out some sort of netting near the eaves. Can we move out on our lease. We just got the place 2 weeks ago. The lease says we are responsible for pest control and I believe they must have known before we moved in. The smell is over powering at times.

    • Tori Bruce

      February 20, 2019 | Reply

      Hello, We understand your distress! We can't give you legal advice but it does seem like it would benefit you to seek legal help. We are very sorry that your living conditions are affecting your health. Our company does air quality testing for histoplasmosis, if you are interested in learning more, please call our customer service number.

  • Tori

    June 15, 2018 | Reply

    I have bats that nest on top of my apartment roof. I can see them flying from my bedroom window and when I wake up I’m the morning there is a lot of guano always at my front door and on the patio. My apartments say there is nothing they can do, bats have been on the property for a long time and at this time of year they are protected. I’ve never had One fly in my apartment thankfully the landlord says the chimney is sealed. I also contacted I believe maybe the dept of health and they said their is nothing they can do as well and in California the bats do not carry disease nor guano. I’m constantly having to sweep up the guano daily and I’m pregnant the smell is so bad thankfully I don’t smell it on my home. My question to you is, is there anything I should be worried about is sweeping up the guano okay and not harmful? Should I take further precautions?

    • GetBatsOut

      June 20, 2018 | Reply

      First off, being pregnant you should definitely have a chat with your doctor. I can't imagine they would want you doing that. California has guidelines about bat removal and when that can occur. It does however sound like the apartment community has had the opportunity to fix this problem before. If the bats have been there for years, they clearly know there's a problem. Keep calling the health department and complaining until someone listens. One tenant told us they called 17 times in a month and the health department got so sick of her, they forced the property management to fix her issue. You can also take the problem to your local media. They love these types of stories and the management hates bad press.

  • Debbie

    October 13, 2017 | Reply

    I have been hearing random squeaky/squealing type noises in a wall located in the middle of my house for at least two years now. This could have been going on longer but this was my daughter's room up until recently. It's now my home office so I am in here at all hours and I hear these noises on occasion. They come from one specific wall. It started a couple of years after a new HVAC system was installed and my husband thought the squeak sounded mechanical the one time he heard it but after having the system inspected twice for this noise problem which cannot be reproduced on demand, I have been told it is not the HVAC system which works fine. I let it go but then today I heard the squeaking again in the same wall! I have never seen a bat in my house but I do see them flying around our neighborhood. I have watched a time or two in the evenings to see if I see any bats leaving my house but I have an H-style roof and it's impossible to see every area of the roof at once. I do sometimes hear fluttering around the eaves outside my master bedroom early in the morning and wakes me up but I always thought it was birds running around in my gutter. I don't know. I would just like to know what exactly is making this sound. It's very random. I had not heard it in a good while until today. What does it take to determine if bats are inside a wall?

    • GetBatsOut

      October 16, 2017 | Reply

      We would be happy to have a technician come do an inspection. We typically recommend the bat watch as a first step since the inspection does cost you. Have you done the bat watch more than one night? That way you can see multiple angles of the house. Many home improvement projects can result in a bat infestation. Whatever you do, please don't start making holes in the wall to check. You will end up with them inside your office. Also - if you do rent (this comment thread is about landlords) make sure you have the landlords permission to start this process. They are responsible for the costs and they can't be on the hook if you don't involve them.

  • Ayde

    August 4, 2017 | Reply

    I live in a apartment complex that is infested with bats. I haven't had one inside my apartment but I have had it outside in front of my door and in the outside of the building. They always hit my window at night, and during the day I hear them in my walls and in my bath tub! I feel unsafe and I'm terrified of them! I have told my apartments about the issue since I first moved in 5 months ago and they keep telling me they are working on it but I see no results, if anything I feel it is getting worse! I'm pregnant about to have my baby in September and I'm scared to come home with my newborn, I have 3 kids already and I just feel it is unsafe. Not to mention the horrible smell in my apartment. No matter how much I clean or turn candles on the smell just doesn't go away. Some days are better than others but it's just frustrating, specially when I have guest over and they ask what is that smell if I don't even have pets I don't know what to do nomore, I've tried to be patient with management but they are just not addressing the problem. I've heard from my neighbor that this has been going on for a long time and they don't do nothing. So should I get a lawyer? Or brake my lease?

    • GetBatsOut

      August 7, 2017 | Reply

      That's a hard situation. If you know that management has been ignoring this problem for a while, you probably aren't going to change that even with an attorney involved. You do have grounds to break your lease, but they will most likely still try to penalize you for it. They aren't getting pressure from the right people. There are two people you should consider calling. Your local department of health or the local fair housing program and your local news outlet. See if you can find something like a "Six on Your Side" type of thing. Where people go to them with issues like this and they publicize it and try to get you help. That's what I would do anyway. And no, it isn't safe to have your young children in that environment.

  • Angela payne

    June 28, 2017 | Reply

    Wow. I live in a building infested with bats. Theres dead bats like 20 or more on the otherside of the attic door in my apt. I find bats in the basement and they fly out of the roof every night. This place is bat heaven. I didnt realize it was a serious health concern. ..the mamager says they r wisconsin fruit bats. But we dont have fruit bats in iowa. I know they are little brown bats. They die all the time ..there was 3 dead in the basement and one dead outside my door right now. You can hear them in the walls. I have 4 cats and 1 dog. 2 kids. The other ppl have 5 kids. They said they have had bats inside their apt. I havent had one yet. But we hear them every night. The landlord knows they are here. But doesnt seem to care.

    • GetBatsOut

      July 5, 2017 | Reply

      You are correct, those are not fruit bats if you live in Iowa. Fruit bats are found in warm southern climates. I suggest reading this article: https://www.getbatsout.com/what-if-your-landlord-will-not-fix-a-bat-problem/

  • Natasha

    September 27, 2016 | Reply

    I haven't paid rent for two months because I have a bat problem in my apartment and begged the landlord several times to take care of it...every time they say they took care of it we found a bat in our apartment everyday for about two weeks straight...we had no choice but to stay because we had nowhere to go with our children and all the hotels were booked at this time. They finally came and filled holes in our apartment we thought it was over but found another bat inside...we called the fire department to get it out because it was like 2am. I haven't seen another bat in a few weeks but 3 of my neighbors found bats in Their home also so I knew the problem was still there...now I am being evicted and they want me to pay all this money my lease is up November 1st 2016. Is their anything I can do to not have to pay the money for the rent and to get more time to move to another place? I have court for an eviction October 10th 2016 my landlord says in order to stay and not go to court I have to pay 1538 my rent is 575. I can't afford to pay that and I want to move anyways because of the bat problem I can't even sleep at night because I'm scared it might bite or scratch one of my children. Although I haven't seen a bat inside lately I can here them in the walls and ceilings and it terrifies me...I need help and don't know what to do....

    • GetBatsOut

      October 3, 2016 | Reply

      My apologies Natasha. Sounds like you are definitely in a hard spot. Unfortunately, I'm not an attorney and I can not give you legal advice. I hope you have copies of a lot of communication in writing with the landlord about why you stopped paying rent before they began eviction proceedings. If you do, make sure to take that to court with you. Other than that, the only thing I can recommend is getting yourself a good attorney. Although, from the sounds of it, you may be better off just moving on?

  • Brian Martin

    August 24, 2016 | Reply

    I have caught multiple bats in my apartment. Outside my back door is always a lot of bat guano. I have notified management many times. Yet they have done nothing. I'm almost to the point of try to take legal action. Not very fun waking up with a bat flying around in your room. Sick and tired of it.

    • GetBatsOut

      August 25, 2016 | Reply

      Not to mention dangerous. I strongly recommend if you find a bat in the house after you have been sleeping that you call your local department of natural resources or the health department to have the bat tested for rabies. Catch it alive if you can. The brain tissue has to be tested so it's best to not hit or mangle the bat. We have instructions on our site of how to properly catch a bat. Let me know if you can't find those. It's in our blog section. Rabies is 100% fatal if not treated and your landlord is responsible for paying for the rabies shots. Most health insurance plans don't cover them and right now they are running about $30,000 per person.

  • Karen

    August 6, 2016 | Reply

    I live in a large townhouse complex, this is the 2nd night I've had a bat in the house. I'm disabled, and I have a young daughter. It lands on our beds, on her toys, which I have video of it all. Management told me there have been no complaints of bats, plus, there is nothing they can do about it. I'm furious. I've read about the rabbis, etc. How can we live in here when the bats are landing on things, and how do I know if they pooped? This is miserable, and they don't care. I want to throw everything out, but I can't afford to do that. Do you have any suggestions on what action I can take to get this resolved?

    • GetBatsOut

      August 6, 2016 | Reply

      Hi Karen, I find that education of management is the best approach if you aren't wanting to take some next, pretty serious, steps. 1st off though - you don't need to throw all of your belongings out. Guano can be dangerous when in large accumulated piles. A few pieces here and there, while gross, are not going to harm you. Bat guano looks like very similar to mouse poop. Document it with photos and vacuum up the few scattered pieces you may find. Then I would reach out to your local department of health. This is going to be a serious step. Management may get in trouble so you need to be aware of that. I would first let them know that you have had bats present in your home with children present and that you are disabled. Also let them know that these bats were not caught and tested for rabies and that you believe there is an infestation. Depending on the specifics of when the bats were there and who was around, they may recommend you undergo rabies shots. Next - and very importantly - you need to be aware that most health insurance does not cover these and that your property manager is responsible for your rabies shots. Rabies shots are currently running about $30,000 per person for the whole series. If you don't receive help from the department of health, your next step will be to contact your local media. This is essentially a campaign to bring awareness to your issue. Again - this will make them angry, but it may get you some results. We prefer to work with management on a bat problem but we can't be on your property without their permission and if they don't think there's a problem, us contacting them will get you slim to none on the results front. Our commercial project manager Janeal has a lot of experience working with these type of situations. If you would like to reach out to her for more specific advice, shoot her an email at janeal@getbatsout.com.

  • Andrea Oftedahl

    June 22, 2016 | Reply

    I've been living in my duplex with my 15 month old son and husband since march. In the past 10 days I've had 5 bats in my house, including one that couldn't fly. My landlord has been notified, but won't get an inspection . I'm feeling very unsafe, pissed off, and concerned for my sons health. Short of takin legal action, I'm at a loss. She is getting a new roof on the place and wanting to put in the bat excluders when they do all that, but I'm afraid the bats that are up there will manage to get in my house even with blankets under the doors we believe they are getting in through. I can't sleep... Help?! P.S. Most of the bats have been caught humanely without contact and released outside. One was killed after he almost got into my sons room while he was sleeping.

    • GetBatsOut

      June 22, 2016 | Reply

      So the bad news is, you are right to be concerned. The good news is, you are researching for information. The CDC recommends a course of rabies shots any time a bat is found in a room with a person with a mental handicap (or drug/alcohol impairment), a sleeping person, or a child if the bat can not be caught and tested. Contact with bats is sometimes overlooked because bats have such small teeth people often don't feel them bite. They also can transfer rabies through their saliva and an open wound. Keep this in mind. Rabies shots are painful and expensive. Most health insurance plans don't cover them. Right now, the series is averaging about $15,000 per person. Prices fluctuate based on supply and demand. Your landlord is responsible for this expense. This knowledge alone is a powerful leveraging tool. The flip side of the coin is that your landlord is somewhat right. Getting rid of the bats before replacing the roof may be an exercise in futility. When they come back and do the new roof, they will likely open up new access points and the bats will come right back in. Moving up her timeline for doing the new roof is a great option. Your local department of health can give you more assistance with this as well. I recommend calling them.

  • Ebone'

    April 4, 2016 | Reply

    What do if I have already informed my leasing office of a bat problem. I've seen them since August or September of last year. They told me that they cannot do anything, and that they cannot get rid of them. And now since last month, I have had rats and mice in my apartment. I have an 8 year old son and I know this is not safe. Do I have grounds to break my lease and move out?

    • GetBatsOut

      April 4, 2016 | Reply

      There is a lot that goes into this question. That is something we would need to have a little more information on. We'll send you an email with some contact information to get in touch with someone that can help.

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