Handling Tenant Pest Complaints

It’s a call a landlord never wants to take — one of your tenants has a pest problem. Whether it’s bugs or rodents, it’s a call you have to take seriously and act on immediately, due to both considerations of the law and the comfort and happiness of your tenants. Below are some tips on how to work with commercial pest control services to best handle a pest complaint from an apartment tenant.

Time is of the Essence:

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to move quickly. Making a mental note to call pest control in the next few days isn’t going to cut it; you need to address the problem immediately. There are several reasons for this. One, tenant satisfaction — would you want to live a moment longer with pests than you had to? Of course not. This tends to be especially important for tenants with young children, as they don’t want them exposed to potentially dangerous pests for any longer than necessary.

Another reason to act quickly is that most pests tend to procreate quickly. If a tenant has only seen one cockroach or mouse, chances are already pretty good there’s a few more hanging around, but the longer you wait, the more pests you’ll be fighting. Assure the tenant who contacts you that you’ll address the problem quickly, then follow through by contacting your commercial pest control partner immediately.

Determine the Extent of the Problem:

The first way to figure out how bad the problem might be is to speak with the tenant who made the complaint. Did they see an actual mouse or some droppings that might have been there for a while? Was it a few ants or a whole line of them? One scurrying roach or a whole bunch of them that scattered when the lights came on? This is all valuable information to have to pass on when you call your pest control company.

You can also speak to other tenants if the complaint came from a duplex or apartment complex. This doesn’t mean you have to alarm them by asking straight-out if they’ve seen any pests. Word the question carefully; just asking if they have any problems in the property that need addressing should be enough to jar their memory about any pests they might have seen.

Find the Source:

The last step is one your commercial pest control partner can likely help with while they’re there helping treat the property. Finding the source of the pests can help prevent recurrences in the future. This might be as simple as ensuring there are no cracks or crevices around the building’s foundation that need to be sealed up to restrict points of entry, or you may need to have a difficult conversation with a tenant about how food left out in the kitchen attracts ants and roaches. After all, this is your property and you must protect it, even from your own tenants at times.

It is also important to keep records of the date and type of complaint, and what you did to address it. Keep a copy of any pest control receipts and make notes of any maintenance actions taken to help prevent recurrences. These will be important to have in case a tenant ever tries to accuse you or your employer of negligence.

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