Does your apartment building REALLY need monthly pest control?

Pest Control Property ManagementDoes your apartment building REALLY need monthly pest control?

The answer: ABSOLUTELY.

We have seen it time and time again when landlords have chosen to only perform pest control on an “as-needed” basis (aka, responding only when a tenant calls with a rat or roach sighting) and it ending up costing them much more than anticipated. Why, you may ask?  As most pest control professionals will agree [Rose McMillan, back me up here 🙂 ],  monthly preventative pest maintenance is key to preventing a full-fledged infestation.  And a building that has a high population of marauding nasties is not only costly to correct, but could also make for an “uninhabitable” situation as noted by the State of California (See: Page 38 of California Health Code)

I have recently walked several buildings on the market here in Los Angeles and it always amazes me how often monthly pest control programs are overlooked.

If a landlord is new to the industry, finding a vendor may seem very daunting as customer service and extermination approach may vary widely.  One must remain diligent, though, and take the time to screen each of the pest companies carefully.  The search for a new exterminator should be treated as seriously as the hiring of a new employee as the exterminator will be on the front lines of the property management company’s customer service and health department compliance.

Below is the check list that our management company uses when hiring a new pest control contractor. What process does your company use?

1. Gather a list of pest control recommendations from neighboring apartment building owners or onsite managers.

2. Search Google and Yelp for pest control companies with a strong internet presence and good online reputation.

3. Once a suitable list of potential pest control companies has been compiled, the next step is to check the authenticity of the business entities.  Is the firm a member of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)?   Tip: find out if the company is a member of the NPMA by performing a search here on the NPMA website.  Is the company listed on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website?

4. What type of service guarantees do the companies provide?  Make sure to get ALL guarantees in writing.

5. Is the company offering a huge discount or insanely cheap monthly rate?  In our book, this is generally a big red flag as after all, we want value and customer service, not necessarily the cheapest price.

Setting up a regular extermination schedule and, more importantly, choosing the right company is critical to the protection from infestations at apartment buildings.  The savvy property manager must keep in mind: infestations affect the bottom line of the performance of the asset, period.  Be it through costly room-by-room pest clean outs or through the high turn over of tenants – not controlling the nasties from the beginning will bite you in the end.  _Trevor