9 ways to keep pests out of businesses with shared walls

Krissie Callahan

Some businesses may face the unique challenge of sharing walls and ceilings with other businesses. Unfortunately, shared spaces can often mean shared problems. Many businesses may think this means basic functions: plumbing, wiring, or simply bad behavior by neighbors. But it can also be a problem in another area: pests. In other words, your neighbor’s pest issues can quickly become yours – and vice versa.

What types of facilities are prone to shared pest problems

Any businesses that share walls, ceilings, or common areas with other businesses may encounter shared pest problems. This includes businesses located in complexes, retail plazas and shopping malls, and even office buildings.

These types of businesses need to implement extra precautions to keep themselves protected against pests.

Why shared spaces are a prime space for pest activity

Pests will move into any area that provides food, shelter, or the moisture they need to survive, nest, or breed. This can include everything from cockroaches and ants to rats, mice, and even birds. Once inside, these pests can move quickly through public-facing common areas, scaring off customers and employees as they go, or through spaces that are out of sight to employees and customers, such as shared back hallways, ceiling voids, ductwork, plumbing, and wall voids.

Preventing shared pest problems

While it may be possible to completely avoid problems with pests in a facility, it is possible to dramatically reduce the potential that a pest problem in one business can spread to other businesses.

For 9 practical pest prevention tips for properties that share walls and ceilings, download our shareable Best Practices card

best practices for businesses with shared walls

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Practice good sanitation, storage, and structural maintenance

In a shared space, it’s important that all businesses make efforts to practice good sanitation, storage, and conduct routine structural maintenance to keep pests at bay. This can include a variety of measures, such as:

    • Keeping food stored in a way that it doesn’t attract pests
    • Cleaning up all food and beverage spills and residues
    • Removing trash to exterior dumpsters or appropriate interior trash rooms
    • Ensuring that shared trash areas have dumpsters with lids, are maintained, and that trash is removed regularly
    • Repairing leaks or plumbing issues immediately
    • Installing door sweeps
    • Sealing gaps, cracks, holes, and areas around plumbing entrances to reduce pest entry


Having strong relationships with your neighboring businesses and your property management team is a great first step to preventing potential issues. It makes it easier to discuss potential issues and cooperate to make needed repairs or work together to take action.

Free and easy communication with property management will also make it easier to report problems. This way, they can engage quickly to get potential concerns rectified, whether they be in your own business or a neighbor’s business.


Enforcement action

For managed properties, it is essential that all rules be communicated and enforced with all tenants. It ensures cooperation from all businesses and gives tenants confidence that they can rely on property management for assistance in problem resolution.

Work closely with your pest management provider

Pest management arrangements in multi-business properties can vary. Some property management companies arrange pest management, meaning that there is one vendor for all businesses. In other situations, it may be up to the individual business to hire a pest management provider.

In either situation, be sure that you are working closely with your pest management partner. This ensures that your business has protection against potential shared pest problems. For example, your provider may be able to install extra devices in the ceiling along shared walls to prevent against rodent entry. Letting your pest management provider know about a new neighboring property, construction, or other activity in your property will help them anticipate potential problems and put the correct proactive measures in place to keep pests out of your business.

 rentokil steritech colleague talking to customer

Call Rentokil for help with shared pest problems

Do you manage or work in a business that has shared common spaces, shared walls, or ceiling spaces with other businesses? Rentokil has established expertise in managing operations in multi-business and managed properties, including retail operations, multi-use facilities, offices, and more. Give us a call today at 800.488.9495 and we’ll send someone out to your business to do an inspection and let you know where you could be vulnerable to pest intrusion.

Additional information for retail operations

As members of Connex (formerly known as the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association), Rentokil’s experts have provided useful information on building pest management into retail operations, landscaping, and contributed to the group’s 2017 Best Practices Book.

Krissie Callahan
Krissie Callahan

As the Communications Manager for Rentokil North America, Krissie specializes in writing, editing, and shaping both internal and marketing messages for the company. When she's not at work, you can usually find her taking in a live music performance in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.

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