Preventing Pest Infestations
Very little creates an “ick” factor like pests - roaches, mice, bedbugs, fleas, anything that creeps or crawls. It can hurt property values, turn off potential renters, and cost a lot of money to correct. Add in pests like termites that can create structural damage, and you can see why preventing pest infestations is in everyone’s best interests, including your tenants.
Most pest problems can be avoided. It’s important that you and your renters know what to do to keep bugs and rodents out of your rental property.
Keep Things Clean
Many pests come inside looking for a food source. If a renter doesn’t keep a home reasonably clean or take out the trash on a regular basis, they’re inviting bugs and rodents in. Make it clear in the lease and when you speak with a potential tenant that one of their responsibilities is to maintain a clean property.
No Standing Water
Flies, mosquitoes, and other pests are also attracted to standing water. You need to stress the importance of reporting leaky faucets and other plumbing problems. Once reported, get them fixed right away. Educate tenants on the dangers of standing water - in the yard after it rains as well as in the house.
No matter how clean a home may be, bed bugs can still take over. Typically, if your renters are neat and clean, it’s brought in from somewhere else, or it’s a problem with surrounding homes. Make sure your tenants know to report an infestation immediately so you can contact a pest control company. It can take weeks to get rid of bed bugs. There are DIY methods you may want to share with your renters if this happens to them.
Create a Pet Policy
Pets can be the reason for pest infestations - like fleas. Before you rent, create a pet policy that you’ll apply to all renters. Remember, though, that service animals are not pets and those rules won’t apply. For pets, you can require an additional deposit or fee to help pay for any potential damage or problems. You may want to ask to see proof of vaccination or vet records as part of the approval process. Fleas can still happen, but a pet that is well taken care of has a better chance of being treated which helps keep your property free of pests.
Partner with a Pest Control Company
Despite your or your tenants best efforts, you may still get pests in your rental property. It’s important to have a good pest control company on call who can help. The earlier you can deal with those pests, the less damage they can cause. Talk to different companies to find a good fit. Don’t base your decision just on price, but also on how quickly they respond and any preventative measures they provide.
Encourage Early Reporting of Problems
The earlier you know about a problem in a property, the easier it can be to correct. Make sure your tenants have multiple methods to contact you, and educate them on the importance of early reporting. When they do let you know about a problem, don’t delay in getting it fixed or calling in a professional.
Put It In the Lease
Make sure to include all tenant responsibilities (as well as yours) in the lease. This gives you legal standing if you find that a tenant didn’t keep a property clean or didn’t report damage that leads to costly infestations. Many renters take things more seriously when it’s included in the lease because it’s a legal document, instead of when it’s “suggested” as a best practice.
No matter how clean your tenants are or what rules you have in place, a pest infestation can still happen. But prevention is the key to making it a rare occurrence instead of a constant battle. Screen your tenants to find the best who will be more likely to take good care of the property and keep a pest control company on speed dial.
If you’d rather not have to worry about pest infestations, lease agreements, or partnering with vendors, a property management company can do all of this for you. At ERA American Real Estate, we know how to help prevent some of the worst problems - including creepy-crawlies in your rental property. Give us a call, and let us help you manage your property.