As a landlord I put a lot of importance in providing high end well maintained rentals. My rentals are not apartments. They are townhouses or single family homes that require the occupants to take care of the home whether they are a renter or owner occupant.
Over the last three years my “style” as a landlord has definitely changed. I have a very specific and spelled out lease and I am VERY careful about our expenses. This allows us to provide great service by treating this as a business and preserving our cash flow. By preserving our cash flow this allows us to be able provide a great service indefinitely. By also setting up a tight “system” it allows me to self-manage these homes even at a long distance.
This leads me into the question of offering pest control. In the beginning we didn’t have a definition on who paid for pest control. The lease was “non specific”. For us this lead to a lot of stress and unnecessary phone calls. In our experience pest issues were a direct response to the tenant “lifestyle” and the home’s location. Some locations, no matter how clean, would have small amount of bugs just because of where the house was located. South Carolina had palmetto Bugs, Texas- cockroaches, etc. So no matter the spraying you would always get one or two.
The other thing we found from talking to exterminators was that just “spraying” would not prevent, solve, or eliminate a problem long term. The tenants were an equally important part of this process. If the tenants were uncooperative or unclear about how to prevent bug problems then we had a problem. Also, we found that there was less incentive for the tenant to try home remedies (such as raid) to take care of the problem or to maintain proper levels of housekeeping. This led to issues where we would receive a call or text every time a “single” bug was found. In the beginning I would call the exterminator and found that most would advise Raid or a Home Remedy.
This started to create tension as the tenant felt we were blowing them off. So, after the third tenant, we started to make “pest control” the responsibility of the tenants. When reviewing the lease before signing we would explain the common bugs for the areas. We would advise on how to prevent issues. Therefore we created a sense of “ownership” on the pest control issue with tenants. This honestly has eliminated a lot of issues along with unnecessary expense.
All of that being said we do cover the pest control to prevent termites. Termites eat wood and therefore it is only the responsibility of owner since it is directly caused by the house and not the tenant. Excellent termite protection is really insurance on my investment.
Our solution on pest control is based on our experience, Landlording style, and rental locations. What tricks do you have for handling bugs?6