Landlord Quick Tip

Tip #208: Come on In!

Do you have a welcome mat out for pests this season?

If you dont want to see creepy critters crawling through your rental this spring, you better take action now. By the time your tenants notice a spider, stink bug, or beetle or hear the pitter patter of four-legged feet, it might already be too late.

The sign of just one pest or rodent could indicate a much larger problem, says Angie Hicks, founder of Angies List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies, including pest control and rodent removal. Ignoring them is not the answer.

Instead of waiting to go on the defense against unwanted guests, take the offense by implementing these six steps to pest-proof your property.

1. Trim tree limbs and branches near structures. Squirrels, raccoons, and bats consider these their personal avenues to your attic. Ants also use the overhanging limbs to get on your roof and into your home.

2. Remove any piles of wood or debris close to the house or building. You might as well put out a vacancy sign for bugs, mice and other small animals seeking shelter.

3. Seal any holes or openings in windows and doors. Even tiny holes can become doorways for bugs, rodents and bats. Caulk or repair cracks and holes in windows, doors and screens and gaps in siding.

4. Secure containers inside and outside. Garbage cans offer a vast menu to hungry critters. Keep lids closed and a fair distance from entry points.

5. Encourage tenants to Keep the kitchen clean. Clear food from all surfaces, clean dishes every night, and sweep floors of crumbs.

6. Schedule regular inspections. Even if youre not aware of an infestation, have a professional periodically inspect and treat your home before a pest problem occurs. Ask about potential issues with termites, beg bugs, or rodents.

Using over-the-counter products instead of hiring a pro will likely yield only temporary results and wont treat for all insect types. Hicks suggests hiring only a qualified professional pest control company that can tailor its treatment to address your specific issues.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at