With every season comes a new hoard of sneaky creatures that make their way onto your property. Insects, arachnids, and even small animals can hide in the smallest crevices of your attic, closet, bathroom, and kitchen pantry, leaving you and your tenant with a surprise upon discovery. Pests can greatly affect the quality of living for the tenants, which can potentially result in more vacancies and a lower property value. To avoid an unwelcome invasion in these areas, we have listed four ways to prevent pests in your rental property.
Educate Your Tenant
Because tenants occupy the property daily, there are steps they can take to prevent pests from entering and hiding in the home. It is important to take time to educate your tenant and possibly provide them a checklist that encourages them to take the necessary actions for prevention. This list should first include throwing away the trash regularly. Tenants should understand that bugs can hide in garbage cans and bags, so they must make sure all waste is properly disposed of outside the property promptly. Properly storing food is another important way to prevent pests, as tenants should be informed to use air-tight containers and refrigerate when necessary. Tenants should also be informed to clean the property regularly and thoroughly to ensure there are no tempting crevices for pests to reside. Finally, make sure you inform the tenant to notify you when there is standing water surrounding the property; this especially applies during storm season. Stagnant water is a large source of pests, so it is important to take care of this problem as quickly as possible.
Regularly Visit and Inspect
As a property manager, you are likely already performing regular inspections of the property to ensure proper maintenance is occurring. However, there may be some spots that are overlooked during this inspection. To help prevent pests, you need to check for cracks in all the walls, floors, and even foundations. Most pests can fit in a hole the size of a pencil or smaller, so it is vital to address all openings as soon as possible. Also, make sure to check that all garbage bin lids are closed and that the common area outside is free of trash and clutter. Because standing water is a large source of pests, it is also important to make sure the sump pump is in good condition and can properly remove water from your property. It is a good idea to check if the sump pump is working by dumping water into it and waiting to hear if it turns on and pumps water away.
Even if you perform all the right procedures for prevention, pests may still prevail due to the climate of your property’s location. When this happens, property managers should research local laws regarding the use of pesticides from the Department of Health. If local laws allow for the use of pesticides, be sure to use pesticides that have an EPA registration number to ensure that the product has been registered and tested. It is also important to always check labels on any pest control products you consider purchasing and follow instructions for safe handling. Certain pesticides only work to eliminate certain pests, so being aware of what pests you are targeting is key to successful prevention.
Exterminate or Tent
If local laws prevent the use of pesticides, or you don’t feel comfortable handling them yourself, your property may benefit from hiring a professional exterminator. For prevention, it is recommended that the property is sprayed once a month in warm climates, skipping the cold months of the year. When the extermination process occurs, be sure to notify tenants to ensure all people, children, and pets stay off and away from the yard for safety. Extermination is a good solution for outdoor pest prevention, however, if there are significant cracks in the home, another option is to tent the property. Tenting, or fumigation, is the strongest way to get rid of pests, therefore, it is important to evacuate all people and pets from the property for three days while the process occurs. For this reason, tenting is recommended when the property is not actively occupied by a tenant.