As the weather starts to get colder, bugs, birds, and rodents start looking for a warmer place to stay. Unfortunately, sometimes that cozy place to stay might be your home. You probably aren’t interested in sharing your home with mice or ants, so you’ll have to make sure that they can’t get inside. Of course, preventing these critters from getting into the house is preferable to getting rid of them after they have moved in.
Preventing Pests

One of the most important things that you can do to prevent pests in your rental units is to instruct your tenants on pest prevention. If your tenants know how to prevent pests and take regular measures in order to aid in pest prevention, you will have far fewer pest issues. Although it may seem like common sense, some tenants just don’t know how to take care of their home to keep from getting uninvited guests. Be sure to tell them to keep doors and windows closed unless a screen is in place so that critters can’t get into the unit quite so easily. In addition, you should inform your tenants of the importance of keeping the unit clean and removing trash regularly to discourage infestations of insects and rodents. Tenants need to understand that they will be financially liable if damage is caused by negligence on their part. You can help the tenants by updating them on the maintenance schedule through periodic emails. Check in with the tenants regularly to ask about any pest control issues that they may have noticed, and ask them to keep you updated of any issues that develop.
Maintenance Measures

Landlords should perform a regular inspection of the exterior of the rental unit every fall to check for potential entry points for insects and rodents. Any openings should be sealed using cement, caulk, caps, or steel wool. A chimney that is left uncapped can allow squirrels to get into the home. Mice can get in through small holes or cracks in the mortar or foundation as well as holes near piping and ventilation points. Openings in the roof and siding can let birds or bats into the unit. Check the exhaust pipe for the clothes dryer, too; lots of little critters like to make a nest in there. Even a loose sewer cap can be an entry pipe; rats can push the cap off and make their way into the home.
Pest Removal – Mice and Rats

If you already have pests in the home, here’s what you can do to get rid of them. An old-fashioned snap trap is very effective against mice. Although cartoons suggest cheese for bait, the best bait is actually peanut butter. A mouse trap probably won’t kill a rat, but it will keep him there until you can get rid of him. Poison is effective, but it can be dangerous in homes with children and pets. If you do use poison, be sure to use the kind that comes in a childproof container. Live traps are basically cages that hold the rodent so that you can release it alive. Be sure to release the critter far from the rental unit so that he doesn’t make his way back in.

To learn more about how to get rid of unwelcome visitors in your rental unit, including birds, bats, squirrels, roaches, ants, and insects, check out part 2 of this series.

Having issues with your rental property? Contact McMath Realty. We provide property management services in Phoenix and all of Maricopa County of Arizona, and we’ll take care of all of the unpleasant parts of being a landlord, including pest control problems.

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