Rats chewing through 2k in your pocket?
You are a property owner and you know that there are countless ways for cash to leave your bank account to feed your property. Pest control is just one of them.
Maybe last month several water heaters went out after 15-16 good years and this month tenants are complaining about rats or weird bites that are linked to rat mites. These rats are going to cost you almost as much as those 2 water heaters over the next year.
Living in a city, is it even possible to fend off the inevitable calls for pest control to be added to your property?
There is hope, and the problem is something you can control. You may even be able to prevent the pest control call if you got to this article BEFORE you have a problem.
Older properties can be a nightmare to try to fence off all of the areas and places pipes run through sub-floors and framing.
I will run through what happens to address the problem and how to prevent it if you aren't facing it yet.
Dealing with rats
1. I suggest enlisting the help of a competent pest control company. These people look at problems on a daily basis and are almost as good at finding places into the building as the rats living on your property are. Make sure residents that have been having problems are aware that your process has started.
2. Start by keeping the rats out. This work is going to be what is called "exclusion". Pest control or someone under your direction, will have to seal off all entrances from outside the property. Note: Rats can enter through a gap 1/2" or bigger. Mice only need 1/4" gap to get in.
It is eviction time for your rats. California and New York have yet to classify rats as having a right to housing, so you can simply board up the entrance to the building and keep them out.
3. Poison on the outside, traps on the inside.
Your property has rats outside with no way in, but that also means rats inside with no way out. Often pest control recommends NOT sealing pathways inside the living space to allow to trap the rodent(s). This reduces the chance of something dying in the walls making life miserable for your residents for some time.
4. Continued monitoring of bait stations and seal interior holes where problems were. The idea on older buildings really is to seal the outside to prevent rodents from entering the building. Once they are in and using pathways, you will want to make sure that areas that had allowed them into the unit are sealed off.
Pest control may either need to be an ongoing service for the property or it can be terminated once problems are eliminated.
Prevention is similar to the control steps, but you don't need the pest professional.
Doors should have sweeps on them and gaps under the property should be closed off. Ivy and limbs should be off your building to reduce the chance of the roof becoming an access point.
Eliminating highly desirable food sources like bird feeders and preventing an accumulation of junk around the property, in storage, or crawlspaces will make your property a lot less desirable.
What does this cost?
In a small property such as a 4-plex, you can spend $500 or more on the initial setup and exclusion service and then $120 a month for checking traps and poison stations. Overall in the year, you are looking at around $1,940 for handling a problem that could have been prevented.
An owner's manual for your building may be less than that depending on the size of property and will help identify these points so you aren't spending that money on pest control.