Pest Management in Multifamily Housing

by Rose McMillan on

Pest management is part of property management.  There are a number of insects and small animals that can infest a multifamily home, and before you know it, the problem spreads and people are leaving in droves. If you are a responsible property manager, you must know how to deal with the situation, as well as how to prevent it in the first place. 

There are numerous pests that can infest multifamily housing. Roaches, bedbugs, and rodents are just some of the primary offenders. Following are some important facts to keep in mind as you consider pest control:

Education.  To make sure that you keep your building as pest free as possible, spend some time educating your residents. Print up an educational fact sheets.  You can place these in your “new resident” packet.  This is not to make your residents suspect a problem when there isn’t one- its education and preparedness.  You are telling residents that if there is ever an issue, that you, the property manager, are prepared to address it.  

No-Fault Reporting.  Some residents are hesitant to report small pests problems because they are afraid that they will be blamed. This can allow a small problem to spread until it is a major one. Instead, make it very clear that people who report problems will not be accused, evicted or otherwise punished.  This may seem over-the-top, but it happens, unfortunately.  Emphasize that  reported pests problems will be solved, without blame.

Maintenance Pest Control.  Consider contracting with a local exterminator that you can work with, and put together a pest maintenance schedule. In some cases, the best defense is a good offense. There are some very mild pesticides that can be put down that will discourage pests of all types from entering your building in the first place. Take some time to think about what kind of procedures you want to institute.  Regular spraying in certain key spots can make things a lot easier for your asset in the long run. Discuss what options will suit your situation best with your exterminator.

Stay Diligent.  Many good property management habits can keep your buildings pest free. Encourage your residents to ask maintenance staff to fix drips and holes. Holes allow insects and mammals to crawl in, while drips encourage insects that are drawn to water. Make sure that you fix any torn screens that you see, and that you seal cracks in places like the kitchen and the bathroom when you are dealing with newly vacated units. In addition to that, make sure that the brush around the property is trimmed back from building walls, as this prevents outdoor pests from getting inside.

Treat Immediately.  When it comes to pest management, it is always better to treat an issue sooner rather than later. If you can fix a problem while it is still small, you have a much better chance of addressing it completely. Pest control is something that takes both time and effort, so be sure that you get a head start if you can.

Make sure your multifamily units stays pest free, take steps to be prepared. These preventative measures can save you from high expenses and frustrating months down the line.

Rose McMillan is an experienced pest control professional from Long Island, NY. She has worked with multiple pest control companies and now wants to share her knowledge with others through blogging. You can contact her via email: or Twitter: @pwipm_rose. Her references and resources provided by Terminix Library.”

About This Blog
Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. We discuss real world issues in multifamily property management and acquisitions. This blog is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc September 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I think this is a Major issue that a lot of property manager over look, and if the problem is not addressed in a timely manner it could result in a huge expense. I own a apartment building in a urban area and was very big about trash can lids being placed on the trash cans and making sure that there was never any trash around the property until one day out the corner of my eye I saw two rats running into a hole. I called an exterminator, when they came out they said it wasn’t because of the trash but it was because I had a tree behind the property that produced berries, and it caused a source of food for them, and if I wanted to get rid of the rats I would have to cut down the tree. New lesson learned.

Rose September 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience Marc! Good thing you called a professional and discovered the source. Unfortunately, it is mother nature that we are dealing with here. As humans, the best thing we can do is prevent the cause that we directly influence and create. Pest Control Management is being aware that there isn’t a one time miracle fix that will prevent insects/rodents for ever. That’s why professionals like you are great to work with, you understand that education and prevention a is key to success.

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