Landlords are responsible for keeping their rental property in a fit and habitable condition, which includes preventing pest infestations. Issues with bed bugs, mice and other pests will not only lead to constant complaints, but will eventually lead to tenant turnover and vacancies if they are not fixed. Here are seven maintenance tips to follow to help keep pests out of your rental.
4 Major Issues Pests Cause:
- Damage to Rental Property- Pests can cause physical damage to your rental property. Rodents and certain wasps can chew through walls and some types of water lines. The smell of urine can get trapped inside of walls and flooring and is difficult to get rid of.
- Tenant Complaints- Tenants want to live in a clean rental. If they begin to notice pests in their space, they will complain to you, or worse, to the health department.
- Tenant Turnover- Most tenants will not deal with pest issues for long. If tenants are unhappy with their living conditions, they will move and you will be left with a pest problem and a vacancy.
- Health and Safety Issues- Under landlord tenant law, a landlord must keep the rental property in a habitable condition. If there is a rodent or insect infestation, it needs to be fixed quickly or you could be fined.
7 Property Maintenance Tips to Prevent Pests in Rental
While a landlord cannot control everything their tenants do, there are certain things that are within a landlord’s control. These seven tips can help reduce the chances of pests entering the rental property.
1. Exterminate Regularly
As a rental property owner, you need to set up a schedule for regular exterminations at your property. This should be done as preventative maintenance even if you have never seen a rodent or insect in your property. This preventative step is important because, by the time you actually see signs of the critters, the infestation is already much larger than you realize. Exterminating regularly will help keep your property clean and will help keep small problems from turning into large ones.
2. Seal Up Entry Points
Sealing cracks and crevices on your property will help keep little critters out. This should be done around the exterior of the property, as well as inside the property.
On the exterior of the property, check the building’s foundation, as well as gaps around pipes, vents, windows and doors. On the interior, make sure to check basements, common areas, tenants’ apartments, attics and crawl spaces. Again, check around the perimeter and near any pipes, vents, windows and doors.
This process does take time, but it can help save you time and money later on. For mice prevention, you can insert a mixture of steel wool and caulk into the hole because mice will chew through caulk alone. Caulking works well to fill all other cracks and crevices.
3. Keep Common Areas Clean
If pests do not have food sources available, they will not stick around. While you cannot control how a tenant lives inside their own apartment, unless they are violating safety standards, you still have control over the common areas of the property. You can make sure all common areas are clean and free from trash and debris. Vacuuming or sweeping once or twice a week should be adequate.
4. Have Proper Trash Bins
To help prevent pests in your property, make sure you have proper waste bins. These bins should be sturdy and have lids which should always be secured to the top. You should regularly inspect them to make sure they are free of cracks or holes.
You should make sure the bins are large enough for the number of tenants you have at the property, so that tenants are not leaving their garbage bags outside of the actual container. In addition, place these bins away from the actual property if possible. You do not want the smell of garbage to attract creatures near your property.
5. Remove Clutter Around the Property
In addition to keeping trash receptacles away from your property, you should remove any clutter around the perimeter of the property. Piles of wood, logs or compost should be moved away from the property. Trim hedges and bushes and get rid of weeds.
Keeping a clean perimeter will help reduce spots for vermin to hide in or to build nests. If pests are living close to your property, there is a greater likelihood that they will get inside your property.
6. Eliminate Standing Water Around the Property
If there is standing water around or inside the property, or if there are leaky pipes or faucets, you should fix the problem immediately. Standing water is a breeding ground for insects and water also attracts cockroaches and rodents.
7. Contact Tenants if You Notice a Problem
As the landlord, there is only so much you can do to prevent pests in your property. Your tenants have to do their part as well.
If you notice trash accumulating, garbage that is not being disposed of properly or debris around the property, contact your tenant immediately. Inform them of the proper procedures for disposing of garbage. Remind them that keeping the property clean can help prevent pests from entering and that they have certain maintenance responsibilities under landlord tenant law.