I’ve Got Rental Roaches – Yikes!

Posted on November 1, 2012 by

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the day inspecting several of our rental properties.  At one of the properties, I quickly realized that something was definitely amiss.  The home’s interior was filthy and the yard hadn’t been mowed.  Turned out the tenant’s wife had left him two months before.  The poor fella didn’t know whether he was coming or going.

As we sat at the kitchen table discussing his problems, a big, honkin’ two-pound cockroach ran across the table.  I FREAKED out!  I HATE roaches!!! The man finished what he was saying with: “Oh, and I have roaches, too.

This family had been in the home for three years without any problems.  The wife was as neat as a pin.  Now that she had left, everything had gone to pot.  Dirty dishes were everywhere, the trashcans were overflowing, and when I opened the cabinets, I found more roaches.  This is called a we’re-gonna-solve-this-right-now-today problem.

Because the tenant was no longer able to take care of the property by himself, he decided that it would be best for him to find a smaller, more affordable place.  He moved the following weekend.

As soon as he moved out, we got busy scrubbing, cleaning and disinfecting.  We also called Dale Yarborough, our long-time friend and bug man with Guardian, to get rid of the roaches.

Landlords, there’s something you need to know about roaches: It takes time and several applications to get rid of all of them.  Oh sure, back in the good old days, when we could use DDT, you could kill all the roaches in one day…but then you also killed the dogs, cats, birds and small children at the same time.  The point is, if we discover a roach problem, I know it will be several weeks before I can put the house back up for rent because no one wants to move into a roach-infested property.

There’s an important lesson to learn from this story: You should regularly inspect your rental properties – both inside and out.  By doing regular inspections, you’re able to keep small problems from becoming big ones.  For example, in this situation, what if it had been three more months before I discovered the roaches?  How bad would the infestation have been then?

There are other advantages to doing regular property inspections: They help you to build good relationships with your tenants.  Also, since the tenants know you do regular inspections, they take better care of the property.  Finally, inspections will save a ton in repair costs.

How often do I inspect my rentals?  With newer tenants, the property is inspected once or twice a month.  Once I’m positive the tenants are good tenants, I only inspect the property every couple of months.

Hope this helps you to become a better, more effective landlord.

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

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