Most of the time, restaurants are responsible for cleaning their own grease traps. When a restaurant goes bankrupt, though, it can't afford to pay to have its grease trap cleaned. If you own a restaurant in a strip mall and an eatery adjacent to yours goes bankrupt, this can create major problems for your establishment -- even if you have your restaurant's grease trap cleaned regularly. In this scenario, the best solution is to ask your landlord to pay for the cleaning of the bankrupt restaurant's grease trap. This request isn't unreasonable, and it'll keep roaches from infesting your kitchen.

Grease Traps Are Havens for Cockroaches When Not Cleaned

The material in traps separates into three distinctive layers:

  • food solids, which settle at the bottom

  • wastewater, which forms a middle layer

  • fats, oils and greases, which float on top of the wastewater

Together, these layers create the perfect environment for cockroaches. They can feed on the food solids, fats, oils and greases, and the layer of water ensures that the area remains humid. Moreover, grease traps are also dark places, which roaches also like.

To deter and limit cockroach infestations, grease traps should be cleaned at regular intervals. Between two weeks and a month is a good interval for many restaurants, although the timeframe can be adjusted according to the size of a grease trap and how much waste a restaurant produces.

By removing the food waste and oils frequently, the risk of infestation is kept minimal. When there are lapses between cleanings, though, roaches can quickly move in.

Bankrupt Restaurants Don't Clean Their Grease Traps

When a restaurant goes bankrupt, its creditors place claims on any funds or assets the restaurant has. Because any financial resources the establishment still has must be forfeited to creditors, a bankruptcy restaurant doesn't have any money to pay a grease removal service. Thus, the grease traps of bankrupt restaurants usually go uncleaned.

A bankrupt restaurant may not be serving food and, therefore, not producing waste that enters the grease trap. The waste already in the grease trap, however, will remain there and decompose. It will become a buffet for roaches if not removed.

Cockroaches Will Spread Through the Strip Mall's Pipes

Once cockroaches find the uncleaned grease trap of a bankrupt restaurant, they will make it their new home. They will multiply until the trap no longer holds all of them.

Soon, they'll need to spread out. They'll look for new places to take up residence, and the strip mall's pipes will provide the perfect conduits for them to travel through. Because all the plumbing in a strip mall is usually connected, the roaches will be free to go to any other business in the building.

If your restaurant is adjacent to the bankrupt one, it'll likely be one of their first stops. Unless your neighbor's trap is cleaned, you'll likely be fighting a fresh infestation of roaches in your own eatery.

Landlords Should Be Willing to Clean Grease Traps of Bankrupt Restaurants

Although your landlord may not be legally required to clean the grease trap of the bankrupt restaurant next to you, you can ask them to.

They ought to be willing to pay to have the grease trap cleaned for two reasons. First, roaches could infest every business in the strip mall if the trap's not cleaned, which isn't good for any of the tenants. Second, the trap will need to be cleaned before a new tenant moves in. Once you mention these two considerations, your landlord should see that cleaning the trap is in everyone's best interest and offer to have it done.

As soon as a restaurant next to yours goes bankrupt, ask your landlord to have the trap cleaned. Explain the reasons why, and encourage them to take action before an infestation spreads. Making this request could save your kitchen from a bunch of unwanted guests.