Pests are every landlord’s nightmare, and if you don’t have Bellevue property manager to handle the day to day details for you, they are often your responsibility. Learning when you are responsible for pests, and what to do if there are pests on the property is an important part of managing your own units.
When Are Landlords Responsible for Pests?
According to Chapter 59:18 RCW of the Landlord-Tenant Act, it is your responsibility as a landlord to maintain a reasonable program for the control and prevention of any pests with the goal of keeping the unit fit for human inhabitation unless the pests are the result of actions taken by the tenant, or the property is a single family residence. Once example of tenant caused pets include a flea infestation in a home with several dogs or an earwig infestation with a lot of mess in the home. In either case, this means that it is your responsibility to ensure that there are no pests of any kind in the home before the tenancy begins, and unless the home is one of the exceptions, maintain pest control throughout the tenancy.
Allowing Tenants to Report Pests
The easiest way to ensure that you get to pests as quickly and efficiently as possible is to allow and inform tenants that they can call you or your Bellevue property manager to report an infestation. This allows you to take action as soon as the infestation is noticed, which usually means less work on your part. Usually, the best number is the normal non-emergency repairs number that you already have to give the tenants.
It is also a good idea to do periodic maintenance to prevent pests from finding their way into homes and units. Spraying and sealing the outside of apartments and condos is a good way to prevent a lot of insects from ever getting in. Sealing seams and cracks on the inside of the building and units is also important for preventing a lot of bugs, especially bedbugs.
Getting Rid of Pests
The first step to getting rid of pests is to hire a local company to come and do an inspection. They will confirm the infestation and tell you what you can do about it. From there, you can arrange a date with the tenants to fumigate or spray the home for pests. Depending on the type of infestation, this might take a few hours or a few days, so it is important to discuss options with the tenant before you get started. Finally, you do want to keep your receipt because it is a tax deductible item.
If handling pest complaints and creating a pest program seems like more work then you want to put into it, then consider hiring professionals to help you out. A Bellevue management company will ensure that you get the best rates on fumigation and pesticide, and that you handle the entire matter as efficiently and professionally as possible.
The discussion herein is of a general nature only and is not to be construed as specific legal advice, which requires the establishment of an attorney-client relationship and fee agreement. SJA Property Management does not provide legal services.