Rodents, and How to Handle Them

Friday Jan 06th, 2017

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Rodents, and How to Handle Them

Rodents, pests, vermin, insects – the bane of many landlords’ existence. If you own or manage any type of property, for a period of time, you are bound to encounter these little buggers sooner or later.  Most of you who have dealt with them before know that it’s not uncommon to spend several hundred dollars in a matter of a few hours, only to hear from your tenant that you have the same problem a week later. So how do we best handle these encounters, and more importantly, how to we reduce the likelihood of these encounters all together?

 

Prevention

The best way to handle a pest problem is quite simply not to have one at all. So let’s discuss some ways to prevent these issues from happening in the first place.

As a landlord, preventing rodents (e.g., mice, rats, squirrel’s racoons) can be theoretically quite simple.  You’ll want to ensure the exterior shall of your property is tight all the way around, leaving no points of access for any rodents to make their home, especially in colder months.  Next, you’ll want to ensure any garbage and green waste is kept inside the home, garage, or other enclosed spaces until it is ready to be put out, leaving less to attract these rodents. For insects and indoor pests, prevention may be a bit tougher as it typically comes down to your tenant.  This goes back to the leasing process and ensuring you lease your unit to a very responsible person who keeps their unit clean, tidy, and free of filth.  If there are constantly unwashed dishes, fruit flies, and/or dirty countertops etc. you’ll want to address this with the tenant prior to having an insect problem.  At the same time, any pets need to have confirmed vaccinations to avoid the spread of fleas. Believe me, this isn’t a fun one to deal with.

 

Swift Repairs

By the time a tenant informs you of a pest problem, they are likely irate and your property has likely sustained some damage already. It is very important to have a professional pest control contractor assess and address the problem in your unit ASAP. First priority is removing the pest from the unit before they cause further harm. Second priority is addressing the source of the problem in the first place and repairing it so it cannot happen again. For example, if you have squirrels making their home in your attic through some broken fascia, you’ll want to have a pest control contractor install a one-way door ASAP. This allows the pests to leave the unit to feed BUT does not allow them back into the unit to chew up your electrical wires. Once they have cleared out, replace the broken fascia and ensure everything is sealed up to keep them out for good.

 

Responsibility

Who lies responsible for a pest problem is somewhat of a grey area. While it is ultimately up to the individual landlord which cost they will try to chargeback to their tenant, there are some rough guidelines that one could follow.

Outdoor pests like squirrels and racoons will likely cause problems due to a deficiency with the outer shell of the home. Since these incidences are sometimes uncontrollable, the responsibility is to the landlord. On the other hand, bugs like fleas or bed bugs are typically at the fault of the tenant (or their pet) having carried in a problem from elsewhere. As such, the responsibility is to the tenant. Each incident should be dealt on a case by case matter, but remember you owe it to your tenants to take consideration into who’s responsibility it is, as opposed to swiftly placing blame. 

 

Phil Gardner

Director - Property Management

My Capital Corner Team

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