Who is responsible for pest control can be a tricky situation for landlords and tenants to navigate. While landlords should be responsible for taking preventative measures, should they have to cover the cost of pest problems caused by messy, irresponsible tenants?
Every year, we speak to many landlords dealing with the pest issues caused by their tenants. They want to know what they can do to prevent these costly pest control problems and how they can better prepare their tenants. Below are a few pest control tips for landlords and people such as hotel and B&B managers who frequently host guests.
Take Preventative Measures
At Catseye Pest Control, we frequently discuss the importance of taking preventative steps to protect property. This means:
- Installing door and window screens to keep unwanted bugs out of the house
- Allocating space away from the house for proper trash and recycling receptacles, removing the threat of pest and critter invasions
- Removing any drainage or moisture problems from the kitchen and bathroom areas
- Sealing cracks in the floor and walls
- Properly managing the landscaping of your properties to remove leaf debris, branches that create paths to your roof, and places where pests and animals are nesting
Before any leases or other contracts are signed, you must set expectations with your guests about pest control responsibilities. Explain the steps you've taken to prevent pest problems. Tell your guests what you expect them to do, such as:
- Routinely take out the garbage
- Wipe down the kitchen after meals
- Clean the bathrooms frequently
- Contact you at the first sight of a pest problem
Give Your Tenants the Tools They Need to be Pest-Free
Making these requests of your tenants is most successful when you give them the tools to be successful. While it may require a small upfront investment on your part, the cost to prevent pest problems is much less than the cost to eliminate infestations.
Provide your tenants with:
- A broom and mop for sweeping away crumbs that attract rodents
- A schedule of trash and recycling days
- A supply of garbage bags
- A rake for outdoor landscaping (especially during the fall)
- A list of contact information for questions and emergencies
- A small selection of cleaning supplies such as cleanser and sponges. While you should not provide enough to last the stay of long-term tenants, this will help eliminate pest problems caused by spills during the moving-in process.
Check in on Your Property
While you do not want to be an over-involved landlord intruding on your tenants' privacy, its perfectly appropriate to check in every few weeks. Drive by the property to check the landscaping's upkeep, or arrange a time to drop-by monthly. While you shouldn't do a thorough search of every closet and cabinet, a quick "Hello" and view of the main living areas will be enough to confirm the house is being kept in a sanitary condition. This will also allow your tenants to ask questions they may not have placed phone calls about.
Make Your Tenants Feel Comfortable about Contacting You
If you set expectations correctly, your tenants will feel more comfortable calling you at the first sign of a pest problem. If they've kept your property to the standards you requested and a pest issue still pops up, they'll know they've done nothing wrong and they'll be more inclined to let you know about potential issues. As you may already know, pest problems can escalate quickly the longer they are ignored!
Have questions about how to best protect the property you're renting to people? Give us a call and we'll help you get prepared.