I rent an apartment in America that is part of a two family house. Our landlord is Jewish, as well as our neighbor downstairs, who also rents from the same landlord. Recently, we began seeing mice. The main cause seems to be the downstairs neighbor, as he has a lot of junk. The landlord came to put down traps and told the neighbor to put out traps, but the mice just reappear a few days later. Is there a way for us to force the landlord to have the mice dealt with by a proper exterminator, such as deducting a part of the rent for every mouse we see or by calling the exterminator ourselves and deducting that from the rent? Thank you!
It is not at all clear that the landlord has to pay for this, unless the mice nest is in the walls of the house. If it is coming from the downstairs neighbor, (and it is also possibly coming from your property), he is not monetarily obligated to pay for it. Additionally, you would have to prove that his house is the source of the mice, in order to charge him.
As a side point, there is a segula to get rid of mice. That is to be careful to give maaser, There, is a story in the Midrash (see sources) that R’ Pinchos Ben Yair went to a certain place, that was having problems with mice. He told them that it is because they weren’t separating maaser properly. He told then that if they will give maaser properly, the mice will go away, and that is what happened. (There is cute way to remember this, “in order to get rid of mice give “micer”.)
דברים רבה (וילנא) (פרשת עקב) פרשה ג סימן ג
ושוב מעשה בר’ פנחס בן יאיר שהלך לעיר אחת והיו העכברים אוכלים בתחומה של אותה העיר באו ובקשו הימנו מה עשה רבי פנחס בן יאיר אמר להן למה אין אתם מפרישין מעשרותיכם כראוי מבקשין אתם שנערוב אתכם שאם אתם מפרישין מעשרותיכם כראוי אין עכברים אוכלין עוד אמרו לו אין ערב אותן והלכו העכברים ולא נראו עוד,