Summertime brings warm sunny days, barbecues, and… bugs. Not only are insects an annoying pest, but they can also make your tenants uncomfortable, ill, or cause serious damage to your property. When it comes to insect infestations, the best solution is always prevention. We recommend establishing a systematic quarterly pest prevention program will ensure you’re able to stay on top of factors around the property that may attract insects. By identifying the factors that attract insects, you can greatly reduce the chances that they’ll become a problem.
Remove Problematic Plants
Some types of landscaping plants like flowering shrubs, ivy, ground covers, and fruit trees can bring in multiple types of pests. They may look attractive but replacing them with plants that repel insects (or at least don’t attract them) can significantly reduce bug issues. If you’re set on having some flowering shrubs on the property, plant them on the edges of the property, far away from any buildings.
Keeping your property clean and well-maintained will also prevent many insect issues. Cockroaches are highly attracted to wet paper; proving adequate waste disposal will ensure you don’t have any piles of cardboard or other paper products lying around that could become damp. Likewise, removing standing water from puddles or other places it may pool will prevent many types of insects from gathering on the property. All downspouts should direct water away from the property; ask your tenants to alert you to any leaks or areas where the downspout runoff is pooling.
Weather stripping on screening, whether for doors or windows, will greatly reduce the ability of even the smallest insects from invading your tenants’ homes. They should fit tightly when closed and provide an effective seal. Patching holes, cracks, and crevices that insects may crawl through with a mildew resistant caulking will also prevent them from being able to get into your buildings. Insects are often attracted to light and heat; installing low-heat emitting sodium vapor or halogen lights will greatly reduce the allure to insects.
Provide Pet Waste Solutions & Stipulations
Many types of insects are also attracted to foul odors; if you allow pets at your property, the addition of pet waste stations and pet waste bags will allow your tenants to quickly remove and dispose of any waste before it has a chance to bring in any pests. Adding a clause to your lease regarding tenant responsibility to keep the premises clean of pet waste is a clear way to convey your expectations to tenants. It’s also beneficial to add a clause stating that tenants must keep their own unit clean and free of any insect attractants, such as wet paper and cardboard, pet waste, or food crumbs. A dirty unit is certainly at risk of becoming a pest magnet.
Open Communication Aids Pest Prevention & Fosters A Good Relationship
Always encourage your tenants to alert you as soon as possible to any potential insect issues they may spot. Discuss preventive measures with them at the time of rental and add specific clauses to your lease that include cleaning expectations. While the law state that rentals only need to be “habitable,” preventing insect infestations and quickly ridding the property of them when they do occur will make your tenants more comfortable, prevent insect-borne illnesses, and foster a good relationship with them. Your tenants will greatly appreciate the measures you take to prevent pests, and you’ll be protecting both your reputation as a landlord and the structure of your property for years to come.
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