In Case of Emergency

Although pests like mice and cockroaches do not pose an immediate health threat, they can result in adverse health effects for people with asthma and breathing problems. Call the Healthy Homes Coalition for more information on Integrated Pest Management.  

Integrated Pest Management

Protect Your Investment

Pests like roaches and mice are not only hazardous to resident health, they also bring down property values, contribute to higher turnover rates and make an apartment less attractive to prospective tenants. 

Even when a resident leaves, the pests remain. Regardless of how the pests got in, eliminating the infestation requires effort from both the landlord and tenant. Landlords have obligations under the law to make sure that properties are pest free at rent-up and that common spaces are kept pest free.

There’s no such thing as a minor infestation. One roach can quickly turn into thousands, and a pair of mice can quickly turn into dozens. The longer there is an infestation, the harder it is to abate.



The best pest management strategy involves the tenant, property manager, and the landlord working together. Using integrated pest management (IPM) has proven to be more cost effective than other strategies. IPM uses a holistic, multi-faceted approach that assesses not only the extent of the pest problem, but the home environment and family habits as well.

IPM starts with removing the sources of food, water and harborage that make the home an attractive place for pests to live. Of course cleaning up food and removing trash is a tenant's responsibility.  But as the landlord, your help is needed in fixing leaks, providing trash containers as required by local housing codes, having trash removed from the property, caulking and sealing cracks and openings in the building, and other changes that lead to a dry, clean home.

Only after sources of food, water and harborage have been addressed should pesticides be considered.  Traps, bait stations (where the poison is safely contained from children and pest) and insect growth regulators have proven to have the most lasting effects. Pesticides like sprays, foggers, and bombs can be harmful to human health and are not as effective in eliminating the pest problem.  Supplies for doing your own pest work can be affordable and easily purchased.

These solutions work well for mice, cockroaches, and rats, but bedbugs are another story.  Bedbugs are resilient to pesticides and the best way to ensure complete elimination is with professional help. Do-it-yourself remedies rarely work and often put people at risk. Since bedbugs can live for up to a year without a meal,  bedbugs will remain in the unit long after a problem tenant leaves.  As a result, ignoring bedbugs only gives the problem time to get worse and more costly to correct.  The best solution is to take action immediately with professional help.

Landlords and tenants need to work together to solve pest problems.  Healthy Homes can assist by working with the family and their children, and is happy to consult with landlords on IPM strategies and solutions.


For Landlords: Obligations

Effective pest management can only be achieved with collaboration between landlords and tenants. Under the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), landlords have responsibility to remove an infestation from the property before it is occupied. Tenants have the responsibility to prevent re-infestation. Landlords can protect their property investment by taking proactive steps and preventing pest infestations by addressing any structural issues that may contribute to the problem.

HUD provides 10 key steps for landlords to deal with pests on their properties in its Guidance for Integrated Pest Management. 

See the Resources to the right for more information on the IPMC or HUD guidance.


For Landlords: Resources and Training

Stop Pests Blog

Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Healthy Homes Coalition also offers trainings for landlords to address and prevent pest infestations on their ­properties. These trainings are often offered in conjunction with the Rental Property Owner’s Association. For more information about these trainings, please contact the Healthy Homes Coalition or see our Events Page.


Did You Know...

Sprays and foggers only kill 5% of pest populations and leave poisonous chemicals around the home.


2012 International Property Maintenance Code(53 KB)

Sections from the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code on garbage removal and pest elimination.

HUD IPM Guidelines(66 KB)

HUD Guidelines for Integrated Pest Management

Lifting Parent Voices, The COFI Way

Every second Monday of the month at 5pm, the conference room at the Healthy Homes Coalition fills up with parents. They file in, greet each other warmly and find their usual seats.

Over a quick dinner, weekly stories are swapped and pictures are shared as parents catch up. Parents for Healthy Homes meetings are part support group, part advocacy work, part leadership training class, and all parent connection.

The leadership training component is a result of our relationship with Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), a nonprofit organization based out of Chicago which connects parents to one another, helping turn their voices in actionable change.  COFI was created in 1995, with former community organizer Barack Obama as a founding member.


Why Parent Voices Matter More

Two stories featuring parents who are fighting to end childhood lead poisoned were told in local news this past week.

These two stories represent the voices of parents whose children are directly affected by the threat of lead poisoning in the community. They are just two of thousands more in the city.

Asthma: The Overlooked Housing Hazard

While efforts to fix lead paint hazards in Grand Rapids are currently in process and in the news, it’s important to remember that asthma is another major health concern for children in the city.

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