Just like single-family homes and businesses, apartments can develop pest problems — and sometimes they can prove challenging. The presence of multiple residents living in close proximity to one another can lead to the unwitting introduction of pests that tenants would prefer to keep far away. Fortunately, Smithereen knows not only how to deal with pest issues, but to do so in a way that minimally impacts tenants’ lives.
Where Do Pest Control Companies Spray in Apartments?
Many tenants find themselves worried about coming in contact with toxic substances, something we understand at Smithereen. Though we are Green Shield Certified and always strive to use non-toxic, environmentally friendly options, exercising caution always makes sense. When technicians visit your apartment, you can expect them to spray around:
- Cracks and crevices
- Gaps between walls and cabinets, appliances (e.g., stoves), or other furniture
Why do our techs spray in these apartment areas? They have two goals. First, they want to eliminate any pests already in your property. Second, they want to practice good exclusion practices. This means keeping pests from getting in. This is also why you may see your tech laying out bait packets or examining external areas.
Who is Responsible for Pest Control in a Rental Property?
While responsibility for pest-control services may vary from state to state and municipality to municipality, the duty generally falls to landlords. Most laws and statutes require the landlord to keep the premises habitable, and an infestation of ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, or rodents can soon make a particular location impossible to live in. That being said, a landlord may find himself off the hook for pest control for apartments in one specific situation: when a tenant’s lifestyle or personal choices have directly led to the pest problem.
What does this mean for a tenant? Well, renters should take a few simple steps to make sure that they don’t cause a pest problem. Those steps can include:
- Washing and putting away dishes after use
- Wiping counters and tables after meals
- Sweeping and mopping regularly
- Eliminating clutter where pests could hide
- Report any leaks such as dripping faucets, sweating pipes, or leaky seals around windows or doors
To learn more about how to prevent pests in your apartment, read the EPA fact sheet “Preventing Pests at Home.”
How To Keep Pests Out of Your Apartment
Speaking of the EPA, its description of integrated pest management (IPM), an internationally recognized philosophy of pest removal that Smithereen has practiced for years, provides important insights as to how tenants and landlords alike can keep insects and rodents out of housing units. It states, “As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat.” In short, this means that you should try to manage the exterior of the apartment to prevent pests from entering and maintain the interior so that they won’t want to remain should they gain access.
For the landlord’s part, this means ensuring that all cracks and crevices in and around the structure remain sealed. Maintaining weather stripping around doors and mesh over drier vents or attic access points often helps. Regarding tenants, how to bug proof your apartment basically translates into adopting several best practices, such as:
- Promptly bagging and removing garbage
- Cleaning counter tops and other exposed surfaces daily
- Storing foodstuffs in air-tight containers
- Vacuuming regularly
Additionally, tenants ought to exercise care when returning from trips or bringing secondhand furniture into their living area since baggage and used items can harbor insects.
Do Apartments Really Need Monthly Pest Control?
How often should an apartment to get treated for pests? The answer is, “It depends.” Some units may need monthly treatment if facing a particularly bad infestation. However, this usually is a short-term provision lasting no longer than six months.
In general, Smithereen recommends either quarterly treatments or treatments every two months. You won’t normally need more service than that.
Importance of Pest Control Inspection for Apartment Buildings
Does apartment pest control work? Absolutely, and it’s also immensely important. If you’re wondering why pest control matters so much for multifamily residences, know that it poses more problems than just potential health risks, complaint calls from tenants, and the erosion of a property’s value. Pest control services for apartments are important because such residences are ideal for their propagation — and unless you swiftly eliminate them, they’ll never leave once they get a proverbial toehold.
Consider the fact that apartment buildings:
- Are high-traffic areas, allowing easy access for pests
- Contain ample food, water, and shelter
- Have multiple units that let pests easily migrate from one section to another when threatened
Once a pest problem develops, management must act in concert with tenants to quickly and decisively eliminate it.
What Are the Landlord’s Responsibilities Regarding Pest Control?
When multiple parties must manage a shared issue, questions arise as to who holds what responsibilities. As BugLord.com points out, state pest control apartment laws can vary significantly from area to area. (Follow the link for a comprehensive list of the statutes in each state.) However, a number of constants regarding landlords and pest control for apartments exist.
Generally speaking, landlords need to ensure that their units remain habitable. This admittedly broad stipulation requires that landlords keep the property up to code and promptly conduct repairs. It may also mean that they should provide pest control services, particularly if the insect or rodent issue didn’t start with the tenant or arise due to the tenant’s actions.
What Are the Tenant’s Responsibilities Regarding Pest Control?
Again, legal verbiage may be different depending on your state of residence, but tenants typically have a responsibility to promptly alert their landlord to the existence of pests and to not introduce pests to the unit. This means that an overflowing trashcan or a leaky pipe that goes unreported may put a renter on the proverbial hook for pest management expenses. While a little bug spray for apartments might help, the best pest control for apartments involves cleaning up after yourself and remaining vigilant so that you stay away from any ants or cockroaches that try to creep in.
Can I Refuse to Have My Apartment Treated for Pests?
Opinions vary about whether or not a tenant can refuse to have their apartment treated. Sometimes tenants don’t want to adjust their schedules to accommodate a treatment or even wonder how to prepare their apartment for pest control. These reasons for refusal don’t typically fly. However, most agree that the only reason why tenants can legitimately keep out a pest-control technician is if they have legitimate health concerns. As mentioned above, landlords have a responsibility to provide a habitable living space for tenants, and refusing to allow techs in means that can’t happen.
What might happen if you don’t allow a technician to have access to your apartment? That varies from case to case. Sometimes a lease may allow a landlord to charge the cost of the treatment to the tenant — or to even evict the tenant.
Smithereen Pest Management Services has more than a century of experience managing creepy, crawly critters of all stripes. Not only do we eliminate pests, we do so in a safe, environmentally conscious way. Reach out to us at (800) 336-3500 to learn more about our services and how you can safeguard your apartment.