Make Pest Control a Priority at all Your Rental Properties

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No one likes getting calls from tenants. In an ideal world, the rent check shows up on time and the tenant takes good care of the property. Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world. At some point, your tenant is going to call you. When they do, hopefully, it’s not about a pest problem.

Pest problems—no matter the pest—are an absolute nightmare to deal with. A pest problem brings about a trifecta of headaches: Cost, time and protracted action. Best case scenario, you catch the problem while it’s small and pay hefty extermination fees. Worst case scenario? Fumigation, remediation, a displaced tenant and lack of cash flow from your investment.

For the uninitiated investor, a pest problem is a crash course in making pest control a priority at every rental property you own.

Pest control is simple

Think of pest control like insurance. You might not have a problem right now, but proactive pest control brings certainty to that fact. It’s one of those things you’d rather have control over than have to react to.

Most pest control programs are extremely noninvasive and very affordable. Annual, bi-annual and quarterly sprayings are a good way to combat pests throughout the year. Depending on the size of your property, treatment can take as little as 15 minutes to an hour. Many pest control companies use environmentally-safe sprays, but even harsher chemicals are dry and safe for kids and pets to be around after a day.

Proactive pest control generally involves spraying around the foundation of the home, as well as at entryways and areas with possible ingress to the house. Thorough pest control companies may even trim foliage and muck out corners, making them less appealing to pests. Most treatments also include inspection, to spot signs of an infestation before it becomes a reality.

Consider an all-purpose pest control service. This ensures your rental properties are protected against bugs and rodents alike—both of which can cause major damage in their way.

What kind of damage do pests cause?

The reasons to be proactive about pest control are many. Aside from health hazards, pests have the potential to cause tremendous physical damage to your property. Common examples include:

  • Infrastructure damage, especially to wood and insulation
  • Rotting and decay, from excrement and spoilage
  • Damage to façade materials, allowing weathering
  • Damage to HVAC and electrical lines
  • Corrosion of metal materials, including plumbing

Every pest does damage in its unique way. Rats chew through insulation and leave excrement everywhere. Termites break down wood, leaving it rotten and brittle. Bees damage drywall and build heavy nests that warp infrastructure. Even a small colony of ants is enough to do major damage to vital parts of a home.

The worst part is, this damage is unseen… until it emerges. By the time you can see the effects of a pest problem, it usually means the issue has reached critical mass. Expect extensive remediation and major costs.

Discover Residential Property Management With This Step By Step Guide

Be cognizant and diligent

It’s not enough to have your property sprayed for pests. You and your tenant need to be aware of pest problems before they develop. It’s simpler than it sounds.

First and foremost, keep the property in good condition. Good landscape upkeep goes a long way, as does general perimeter maintenance. Trim back overgrowth, keep trash contained and away from the house, and be smart about inspecting cracks and fissures around the foundation.

Next, encourage your tenant to practice good cleanliness and sanitary habits. Pests only make themselves a nuisance in places where they can nest and get food. A clean home is an unwelcome one. You have little control over how your tenant lives, so be sure to rent to someone who expresses good organizational habits and hygiene.

Encourage your tenant to address pest problems by making them easy to deal with. In your rental agreement, make it clear that you’ll bear the burden for pest control costs. Think of it this way—would you rather your tenant ignore their ant problem until it gets out of control or calls you the moment they see a few ants? Covering the cost of pest control is one of the better investments you can make.

Finally, apply what you learn proactively. If you own five properties and two of them get ants, it’s probably a strong year for ants. Have your remaining three properties specially treated for them. Likewise, if another investor in your network has a problem with rats, get information about how they addressed it so you can avoid that same problem yourself. The more you know, the more you can protect yourself.

Always do pest control right

Let’s say the worst has happened—you have a full-blown termite infestation. You’re going to want to panic, and rightfully so. Before you freak out, take a moment to plan your attack. Find a smart solution.

Cutting costs and corners on pest remediation is almost sure to leave you with a similar problem in the future. Pest eradication needs to be thorough, which means paying for the job to get done right. Even if it means fumigating and paying for your tenant to stay in a hotel for a few nights, it’s better to eat the cost now than deal with it again next year.

As for remediation, always trust the professionals. DIY pest traps and hardware store chemicals aren’t the answer. Look for a service that specializes in the type of infestation you have. Make sure they practice not just remediation, but prevention as well. It’s one thing to eradicate pests; it’s another thing to get rid of them once and for all, preventing them from coming back!

Once you’ve dealt with a pest problem, you’ll understand the importance of proactive pest control. If you’re lucky enough to have avoided a pest problem thus far, continue to make pest control a priority. It may be an extra expense each year, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a far lower cost to pay than combatting a full-blown infestation.

Your Guide To Spotting Pest Problems In A Potential Investment Property, With Scott Dillingham