I am going to be purchasing some single family homes (mostly wood frame construction) in Central Florida for the purpose of rental income. My question is, should I provide periodic pest control service for my properties, or let that be the tenant responsibility? My gut tells me to take care of it to ensure the long-term quality of each house. Also, should I use a big company like Terminix, or try and find a local company who can save me money without sacrificing quality?
In the first 30 days it's on me, following that it's the tenant's responsibility (with the exception of termites).
I take care of termites if they're found because those can be very damaging to the house and cost ME more money down the road if not addressed. I don't provide any other form of pest control. Of course, the only pests I've ever had so far are termites.
I don't recommend using a big company like Terminix. Find a cheaper local company. The first house I had treated for termites I actually used Terminix because I didn't know any better and they had name recognition behind them. They did a good job, but at a cost almost 3x what I should have paid. Ever since then, I've used a local termite company and been very happy.
I've found that most, if not all, of the termite companies treat for termites pretty much the same way. The only real difference is the price you pay.
We do not provide pest treatment for our tenants. I would treat the property if we found termites but otherwise it's up to them. Last year the city tried to pass an ordinance requiring landlords to provide quarterly pest treatments. The local landowner’s real estate club fought back and has so far kept the ordinance from passing.
Thanks for the input everyone. Do you inspect periodically for termites, and if so how often?
@Michael Smith We've only owned our properties for a year or less so at this point I haven't inpsected for pests other than when we first bought and it was required by the bank.
Don't count on tenants to pay for pest control. I'm a firm believer in preventative maintenance. So, I spray this stuff twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. It's $40/bottle and will last you for 10+ applications.
Yes on property no on units. Even have it in the lease.
I typically do pest control in between tenants. I am responsible for the first month, after that it's the tenants responsibility and I have that documented in the lease.
I agree with @Rick L. , it's a minor cost of preventive maintenance. Carpenter ants can cause as much damage as termites and getting rid of pests is more hassle than preventing them imo. I used to have a local company spray 4x year for pests, it cost me $120/yr. I cancelled because my insurance skyrocketed due to hail damage and need to save some pennies but will renew once my premiums go back down next year. Right now I spray monthly myself and honestly I'm already fighting ants. If I am fighting it and care, what will tenants do that don't care? That's what concerns me.
We have just a couple rental properties, but I learned when we started to always take care of your own pest control, and not only to prevent pests, but also as an easy way to complete period inspections. Find a local guy that will give you a decent price. You can talk to him after his pest sprayings just to see if there is anything obviously out of the ordinary.
He obviously isn't there to snoop, but if he sees it is trashed, or maybe they are packing all their stuff to skip out on the lease, at least you will have a heads up.
Plus, I wouldn't trust any tenants to take care of important preventative maintenance on any of my property.
My lease says that tenants are responsible for their own pest control and snow removal and that I'm "not" liable (well, my lease says that at least).
Even so, I sometimes spray for bugs. It's once or twice a year outside and a $20 bottle of bug spray from Home Depot lasts me a year.
I've lived in large apartment complexes where management hired bug guys to come in and spray apartments every season. You couldn't refuse them entry, either. They would come while you were away. I was allergic to the stuff, but the apartment complex required you to allow them to spray in their lease.
I think you have answered it already. You have to do a periodic testing on your own properties to ensure its long term safety and freedom from pests. And I think it would be better if you can find a company that is cheap to provide you such service but will not sacrifice the quality of work output. But remember, to do this when your properties don't have tenants living on it yet. Once tenants started living on the property, it would either be you provide them with periodic pest control services and testing provided that they will have to pay you as as well for that, included in the monthly rentals that they pay you, or they can do it on their own.
I pay a pest control company to do a quarterly quickie inspection/treatment. My lease says that the home was bug free when they moved in and if the pest control company determines that there is a new infestation caused by their dirty living habits, then they are responsible for the cost of the treatments to remove the problem.
This hopefully motivates the tenant to be more careful with things like leaving food out for days.
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