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Dealing with Bugs in Your Rental Unit

SExterminatoro here’s something no one wants to talk about, - ever. Not in Property Management, not at a family dinner, and definitely not on a first date. Creepy crawlers in the night that bite!

It’s a common trait to itch with all bugs and mites. Some leave rashes. Most are very common; I remember getting lice in 5th grade from my cousin at our family camp because we used the same pillows and didn’t wash the pillow cases between stays. Most bugs and mites need a human host to survive and only live 36-72 hours on their own.

Hot water, heat, tea tree oil, and other cleaning agents kill them off. Not that we want to go around being bug murderers, but we certainly do not want them to infect us or our properties.

I had a tenant recently who I needed to evict, and this was a super tricky one- because she had scabies. How could this be done without discrimination? Her mother came to my property heated and upset about the situation. They were under the impression these bugs magically appeared in the furniture and mattress, thus being my fault as the Landlady. Well. After a bit of research and speaking to a medical professional and lawyer, this particular bug needs a host to transfer and cannot survive on it’s own. It does not magically appear in furniture. It’s actually an STI because you need prolonged direct skin to skin contact with someone who currently has it, and I was NOT about to get into that with the tenant’s Mother. I did what I thought was best, consulted my lawyer (learned that lesson last year, check in with your lawyer first!) didn’t charge her rent after that day, gave the tenant extra time to move her stuff out, disposed of the linens and mattress and thoroughly cleaned the unit a week after the tenant vacated, then another clean a week later (just in case). I lost profit significantly that month and ordered a new memory foam mattress and mattress covers. From now on, each new tenant gets their own mattress cover as to preserve the brand new memory foam gel mattress. A $15 mattress cover is a lot easier to deal with rather than an eviction and extermination.

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