Negotiating the responsibilities of pest management can be difficult for landlords and tenants. But at the end of the day, it’s everyone’s responsibility to create an environment that is safe and comfortable – whether that means encouraging tenants to take certain measures to keep pests in one unit from traveling to another or to hire an exterminator yourself.
While it’s true that some conditions (like messy tenants) may attract pests, this is certainly not always the case and sometimes pests arrive for seemingly inexplicable reasons. That’s why it is crucial for property managers to have a pest management strategy in place that everyone, including staff and tenants, is aware of.
Here are 5 ways you can maintain a strong pest prevention program, and decrease your chances of future pest problems:
- Reduce access to your building
Reducing access to your building is a huge step towards keeping pests out (especially wildlife and rodents). This can easily be integrated into regular building maintenance. Here are a few places to pay close attention to:
- Doors and windows: Check to make sure screens and vents are properly sealed. All exterior doors should close completely and be fitted with weatherproof sweeps if the bottom of the door is more than ¼ inch.
- HVAC units: Check the piping and ductwork on HVAC units and utility lines that enter the building for any small holes where they meet the walls, floors or ceilings. The best materials for sealing openings are knitted copper mesh, steel wool and cement.
- Plumbing systems: Again, use the above materials to seal openings around pipes, sewer lines and other openings. These can be an invitation for rats and other dirty pests, like cockroaches.
- Manage your garbage and recycling programs
Garbage bins kept near the building can be an easy invitation to pests, so it’s important you take measures to keep these areas clean, and as far from entrances as possible. Make sure there is an adequate number of garbage bins available given the number of residents and frequency of garbage pickup. Clean up spills inside trash bins and trash rooms promptly.
- Educate your staff on their role
Your staff is responsible for certain measures they can take to reduce the risk of pest problems. For instance, your maintenance staff should handle things like leaks and entrance areas in your building. Housekeeping should keep common areas clean, and monitor and report any pest sightings or suspicions quickly.
- Educate tenants
Make sure your residents know they share some of the responsibility when it comes to keeping a pest-free environment for everyone. Outline the rules when it comes to keeping their units and common areas clean, as well as proper garbage/recycling disposal. Including this in the lease will also help to avoid questions of accountability, should a situation arise. Tenants should also report any pest sightings if they are in their apartment or a common area.
- Hire an IPM professional for monthly or quarterly visits
Keeping pests out of your facility is truly a group effort. While all these things can reduce your chances of finding an infestation, you should also make sure you are working with an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) professional, as they are able to help you locate areas that are vulnerable and apply treatment methods that are preventative and long-lasting. A monthly or quarterly visit from a pest professional to inspect your property and reapply treatment if needed is imperative.
Want to know more about how a pest control technician can help you prevent pest populations from developing on your property? Check out our commercial services for property management or contact us here.