Messy tenants now have rats INSIDE

10 Replies

My tenants (12 guys- a Sober Living home) told me rats were in the garage...where they keep 5 fridges. On inspection, I saw there was a lot of food dribbles and spills from the fridges and the outer door was left open. I also noticed a small hole where a pipe entered the garage. I told them to keep the door closed, clean up and KEEP clean the food mess and I sealed the hole. I set traps and placed glue traps all over the garage (and bait in the attic of the garage).

Now they are telling me the rats have moved INTO the house. Not sure how as I really looked all over the find access points and the 1 I found, I sealed (where the cable wire comes in). 

Thing is, these are guys. 12 of em. Super nice and quiet but VERY messy. I have repeatedly seen the house just plain dirty; bathroom is gross, kitchen floor and countertop is always "thick", the bedrooms have crap piled all over the floors. And, the one thing that always made me worry about just this scenario...food spills under fridge, stove, and walls where trash cans are. I always tell them they need a cleaning lady, but they always tell me, "We just cleaned!!"  They are completely blind to what I see. Which I get, cuz, MEN. But now... NO.

So I told them we need to come in ASAP to set traps INSIDE each room... I said I can give them a 24 hr notice, but would prefer to come in today. Partly because I really want to see the place before they get in and "clean"...see the true nature of the mess.  I am reading California Civil Code 1954 and am still not 100% clear on if it's legal for me to just TELL them I will be coming into the house this afternoon, 8 hours after notice?  It says YES, if in response to emergencies. IS this an emergency tho?

Also, while I desire to do all I possibly can to retain the value and well being of my house, I can't afford to go crazy! Not to mention, I will be leaving on vacay for a 10 day trip in 38 hours... :/  I want to get this handled ASAP, but legally.

TYIA!

Sounds like you need a property manager that will actually enforce the part of your lease that says Tennant's must keep the unit in sanitary condition, I think if you were going to be able to train these guys about how to treat your house you already would have. I have built into my lease that Tennant's will be on the hook for any pest remediation after they have lived there 30 days. Obviously in a multi unit situation I'll come in and do what needs done but I'm also going to evict the Tennant that caused it for breaking my lease.

We are actually in the process of hiring a PM. Because of this exact sitch. We are too close to them and the fam that runs it, so we need that professional separation.  It's like Mom telling kids to clean their rooms.

MEANWHILE... they just told us to go ahead and let ourselves in any time. So we'll see what's what. All the guys are out of the house all day, until about 5pm, so we'll really get to see it as-is. Unless he sends a housecleaner over. Which he won't.

So I guess immediate problem solved!

As a property manager, here's what I would suggest:  

1.  hire a professional pest control company (local is better than big franchise companies as a general rule).  Have them treat the building.

2.  Let all the tenants know (in writing) that you will divide the total extermination bill by the number of tenants you have and charge each of them with 'additional rent'--they caused the mess, they get to pay for cleaning up the consequences of the actions or lack thereof.

3.  Go on your vacation and de-stress.  Believe it or not, you can make money and actually have some fun in this business.  It's a balancing act.  Hang in there.

Until you make this the tenants responsibility, you will get nowhere...... its their responsibility to keep the unit clean and pay for any and ALL pest control that is a direct result of the condition of the unit. You are very unlikely to change their messy ways, so I would hire a professional exterminator and add that fee to their rent every month.....this will be an ongoing issue

Until they have to pay for this issue....or get evicted because of it...they will do nothing to change the situation. They have zero "skin in the game" right now, so they will just pass off all the responsibility to you

Hire a professional monthly exterminator and increase their rent to offset the cost to you

I would also consider hiring a professional biweekly/monthly cleaning service and increase the rent accordingly

12 adult males? I would consider a rent increase that covers:

1. Cost of professional property management; and

2. Cost of a professional cleaner every week.

No roaches. Went in and found ZERO evidence of rodents! The place was a bit cleaner than usual- surprise! However, it could be way cleaner. One guy said he saw a large mouse in the upstairs bathroom, however, there were no droppings, nor any way that we could find that one would get up there. Who knows.  We did lay traps and put out bait boxes.

That said, HOW would I be able to increase the rent to cover all these suggestions, mid lease?? Can I legally add all these fees each month as suggested?

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

A dozen ( former) drunk guys living one house .. what could go wrong

Lots. Amazingly though, less than if they WEREN'T sober! Its been over 2 years and this is about as "wrong" as it's gone. And it all ended well; they went ahead and hired a weekly cleaning service. 

The amazing thing is... this is a gift.  For them and for us.  We get to give back to our community in a way that not only aids them, but nets us a very tidy profit. Don't get me wrong; there are challenges! But so much less than you'd suspect!  Overall, these guys, which are still the same, original guys from day 1, are successful. They are staying sober, advancing their educations, careers and relationships. The neighbors LOVE them! They help around the community every week! And the neighbors appreciate the fact that they ARE sober. 

One word of advice for anyone thinking they'd like to "make money" doing this... GOD.  This entire project was spearheaded by 2 strong Christian men who had a heart plan. They gathered resources and knowledge thru their churches, pastors and spiritual leaders in the community. They knew we are Christians and saw our dilemma (accidental land lords with awful tenants) and approached us.  I see other sober livings that are not run from the heart and I get the concern. But we are very involved with these men and we care for them- and they know it. More importantly,  they now know God. THAT makes all the difference. That is why this is working. And that is why this is my "biggest thing that has gone wrong". 

May not be a popular view now a days, but I think I'll stick with my business plan :) 

Originally posted by @Gail W. :
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

A dozen ( former) drunk guys living one house .. what could go wrong

Lots. Amazingly though, less than if they WEREN'T sober! Its been over 2 years and this is about as "wrong" as it's gone. And it all ended well; they went ahead and hired a weekly cleaning service. 

The amazing thing is... this is a gift.  For them and for us.  We get to give back to our community in a way that not only aids them, but nets us a very tidy profit. Don't get me wrong; there are challenges! But so much less than you'd suspect!  Overall, these guys, which are still the same, original guys from day 1, are successful. They are staying sober, advancing their educations, careers and relationships. The neighbors LOVE them! They help around the community every week! And the neighbors appreciate the fact that they ARE sober. 

One word of advice for anyone thinking they'd like to "make money" doing this... GOD.  This entire project was spearheaded by 2 strong Christian men who had a heart plan. They gathered resources and knowledge thru their churches, pastors and spiritual leaders in the community. They knew we are Christians and saw our dilemma (accidental land lords with awful tenants) and approached us.  I see other sober livings that are not run from the heart and I get the concern. But we are very involved with these men and we care for them- and they know it. More importantly,  they now know God. THAT makes all the difference. That is why this is working. And that is why this is my "biggest thing that has gone wrong". 

May not be a popular view now a days, but I think I'll stick with my business plan :) 

Neat story and it’s very noble of an effort on your part  . I appreciated that and I’m sure he ^ does too !