In addition to having a duty to provide your tenant’s with a pest free environment, it also helps to keep your tenant turnover rate lower, to keep your maintenance costs down due to less damages, and it helps to keep the property values up, all of which are good for you.
1. Educate your tenants
The simplest and most effective thing you can do is educate your tenants about pests, what signs to look out for, when to call for help, and so on. We often assume that most people are familiar with signs of pests and what to do but this is far from true, many tenants have no experience with pests. In some cases they may not even know what signs to look out for. Educating your tenants can be as simple as providing them an educational pamphlet when they move in. To get the best results you should also include what warnings signs they need to be on the lookout for and when they should contact you.
Part of the educate should also focus on prevention, such as letting them know that keeping doors and windows without screens open is an invitation for pests to come in. You can also increase their motivation to work with you in preventing pests by reminding them that they could also face some financial responsibilities if they are negligent. With that in mind explain to them the importance of taking out the garbage, not leaving food out for extended periods, of leaving dirty dishes in the sink forever, and other general cleanliness expectations from them as tenants.
2. Regularly inspect your properties
This can be as simple as you doing a walkthrough of the rental to look for any signs of pests but can be as extensive as having a pest control service come in on a regular schedule to do a look over of the property with the tenant. You can alternatively send your tenants scheduled reminder notices or emails to remind them that they should do their own pest inspections themselves. If a tenant has a cleanliness problem then it’s important to follow-up and verify that the situation is being resolved.
When doing a walkthrough looking for pests you should also try to find potential ways they can come into the property. Look for holes, even small holes, in the outside walls, in the cement, by the windows, etc. Look for holes in windows screens and doors. And often overlooked item is the space under the door, it can sometimes be big enough for a small roddent to come in, nevermind bugs. Make sure that the exhaust pipes for the laundry, furnace, etc. all have screens in front of them to prevent small animals from going in. If at all possible look at the chimney, it’s very easy for animals to come in and get into your attic. In fact it’s a very good idea to also go into the attic to look for critters, plus it gives you a chance to inspect the property overall. The key is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.