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Ask Flipped: My house in infested with ants that refuse to pay rent

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How do I get these ants to chip in their fair share?

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Dear Flipped,

Recently, I noticed a bunch of ants crawling around my kitchen floor and disappearing under the cabinets. Great! I thought to myself. I’ve got some ant subletters to help out with rent. I’d already spotted approximately seven ants, and assuming there were more somewhere, I did some quick calculations and figured that the ants should be paying approximately one third of the total rent considering that I had only seen them in common areas and assumed that they were not occupying any of the bedrooms.

Fast forward a few months, and the ants have not paid a dime of rent, despite several notes and invoices I left for them on the kitchen floor (I covered the invoices with dabs of peanut butter so that the ants would be sure not to miss them). And not only are they not paying rent, they’ve invited a bunch of friends and family to move in as well!

At this point I’m at my wits end. How do I get these ants to pay their rent, or, failing that, how can I get them out of the apartment?

Any advice is welcome!

Seriously Bugged


Dear SB,

If the ants aren’t going to pay their fair share, you have no choice but to remove them. However, removing ants is easier said that done.

First you’ll need to prepare a written notice to leave the property, including therein the reason that you are evicting the ants (delinquent rent). Make sure the ants see it — you can use your peanut butter trick here — and record the date.

Then you’ll have to wait at least 60 days, in order to provide the ants ample time to find a new apartment (although you and I both know that they are probably not going to do that). If, after 60 days, the ants still have not moved out you can file an eviction complaint and summons form at the civil court in your jurisdiction. You will then have a court hearing at which you will be required to provide written evidence of the ants’ delinquent rent, i.e. unpaid invoices (hope you made copies, and kept them free of peanut butter). If the judge agrees with you, he or she will file an Order of Eviction, and a law enforcement officer will remove the ants from your home on a date decided by the judge.

If all that doesn’t work, you could always just buy some traps and poison them.

Hope that helps,


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