As a property owner, you likely worked hard to get your property to where it is today. Don’t let your effort go to waste by letting pests have free reign over your investment property. A pest-filled rental property loses its appeal, and soon, it’ll be impossible to profit from it. A pest infestation can also affect the resale value of your South Florida rental property.
What are the dangers of a pest infestation?
A pest infestation can cause health concerns such as allergic reactions and infections. If you let the creepy crawlies run rampant in your rental property, your tenants can sue you for not complying with the implied warranty of habitability. As the property owner, you’ll also be setting yourself up for substantial losses considering that you’ll need to conduct repairs.
If you don’t address pest problems, you’ll have to handle its harmful effects, including:
Pests carry allergens through dander, droppings, and more. Bugs and bees can even cause severe — and lethal — allergic reactions. When termites hide in your walls or vents, they can hasten the spreading of dust throughout your home. Cockroaches can also trigger allergies through their saliva.
Fleas, rodents, roaches, etc. are carriers of disease. As they run rampant in your home, they put your tenants at risk of illness-spreading germs like Escherichia Coli and salmonella. Pests also carry diseases such as hantavirus, rabies, maladies, strep, and more. Insects such as brown recluse spiders have venomous bites that can be life-threatening if left untreated.
#3 Structural Damage
Insects can damage the structural integrity of your property, particularly if you have wood furnishings that aren’t treated. Mice tend to chew on wires, potentially causing a house fire. If your property is in South Florida, you’ll probably find a lot of termites, considering that they’re attracted to humidity. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), homeowners spend around $5 billion annually on termite-related repairs. If you grant them free reign, imagine how much it would cost you to repair your rental property.
Is the landlord responsible for pest control?
Not all the time. If the tenant caused the pest infestation, then they should pay for pest control. For instance, if the tenant failed to throw out the trash, and in turn, attracted rodents to the unit, they may be held responsible. On the other hand, if the landlord failed to address the issue from the start, they are responsible. An example of this would be when the landlord failed to hire an exterminator or conduct an inspection prior to the occupancy. This is because the landlord is expected to maintain a pest-free rental property.
However, it’s worth mentioning that if structural issues result in a pest infestation, the landlord should be deemed responsible. For instance, if a tenant reports that the gutters are clogged but the landlord doesn’t do anything, the landlord should pay for pest control in case pests enter the property through the damaged gutters.
Since the laws on “who is responsible for what” differ from state to state, it’s critical to consult a property management company. You should also make it clear to your tenant that they’re responsible for day-to-day upkeep. Remind them that they shouldn’t leave their trash in the driveway, and discourage them from feeding rodents such as squirrels.
How can you prevent pests in your investment property?
Since pest infestations can be costly, it’s important to prevent pests from invading your property in the first place. Here’s how:
#1 Exterminate regularly
Extermination is the best way to keep pests at bay. We recommend exterminating once a month if your rental property is in a warm area, whether or not your property is showing signs of a pest infestation. Remember to exterminate your unit when there aren’t any children or pets around, as contact with chemicals can be dangerous.
#2 Inspect the property regularly
Another way to prevent pests in your investment property is to conduct routine inspections. Visit the property once every couple of months or hire a property manager to conduct the inspections for you. Pest infestations often start when the property’s structural condition is poor. Since pests can enter the property through tiny openings in the floor, foundation, etc., it’s critical to close these off.
You should also inspect the sump pump, a device that removes the water that has accumulated in the lowest point of your home, such as the crawl space. When the sump pump overflows, water will enter your home, carrying all sorts of creepy crawlies with it.
Check the upkeep of the property to make sure that your tenants are keeping their end of the bargain. This includes throwing out the trash, cleaning the clutter, and so on.
#3 Avoid feeding the pests
Pests are not pets. They thrive in environments that are favorable to them — in other words, they’ll survive as long as they have sustenance. It’s common for tenants to feed the pests, but what this does is encourage the pests to stay. Hence, you should constantly remind your tenants not to do this. You should also provide your tenants with covered outdoor bins to prevent pests from scavenging. Encourage your tenants to throw out the trash during the day to avoid leaving trash out overnight.
#4 Tent the rental property
Tenting involves covering the entire house with a tarp, creating a tightly-sealed enclosure for the pumping of a fumigant that eliminates termites and other pests. Be careful, however, as the gas can be poisonous to pets and people. For that reason, it’s important to evacuate your tenants and provide them with accommodation for two to three days. Property management companies would recommend tenting your property when it’s in between tenancies.
No tenant wants roaches, bed bugs, and mice as their roommates. By following the steps above, you can prevent pests from moving into your rental unit. For more tips on preventive maintenance, feel free to get in touch with the property managers at Luxury Property Care. We also provide top-rated property management services in South Florida, so you don’t have to worry about unwelcome creepy crawlies in your rental unit.