What you need to know about pest control for your condo or homeowners’ association
Pest control is an important part of maintenance and upkeep in community associations. Even though home and condo owners are usually responsible for any infestations in their houses or units, when the infestation gets out of hand in the area or building, or it appears in communal areas, it’s time for the association to step in.
Making sure extermination procedures are a regular part of board meeting discussions is important to ensuring satisfaction and safety throughout the community. Residents can become upset fast when they have an incident with a bug infestation or other pests, like mice or rats.
There are also local laws and regulations to keep in mind, high costs, responsibility-sharing, and many more aspects of extermination to consider.
If you’re wondering where to begin, start by reading through these important pest control considerations for your association.
Whose responsibility is it?
One of the biggest problems related to pest control in associations is determining who is responsible for what.
A resident may not want to cover the costs of an exterminator, and many will argue that the problem existed before they moved into the home. The association may believe that the homeowner caused the problem. In condo associations, building-wide infestations are typically the board’s responsibility, while unit-to-unit issues are to be handled by the condo owner. Communal spaces are also the association’s responsibility.
When in doubt about who is responsible to pay for what, first check your local laws. State laws vary about what the association must pay for and what homeowners are responsible for.
In some states, owners don’t have the right to refuse entry if the association needs to get into their units or homes for extermination purposes. This can cause some members to be upset, especially if they don’t understand what’s happening or they’re afraid of the chemicals being used in their homes.
Always be sure to check the governing documents of the association, as pest control responsibilities are often included in the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the CC&Rs don’t currently have any information about these issues, it’s a good time to have the board vote on the best way to handle them and add the details to the governing documents for future occurrences.
Open up communication with residents
If you’ve hired an exterminator to take care of common areas in your community, remember that residents may see the services taking place and become concerned about an infestation in their own units or homes. This is why it’s important to be upfront with association members about what’s going on.
In this case, it would also be the perfect time to go over the processes and procedures with residents in case they need to call an exterminator for their own home. The important thing is that everyone is on the same page and residents don’t feel like the association is keeping anything alarming from them.
Managing the financial aspect
Running an association brings many unexpected costs as issues arise without warning. This is why it’s crucial to have a place in the budget for pest control, even if it’s part of a larger maintenance budget.
Association boards may not always think of extermination as a priority since sometimes the residents will cover the costs of their individual units. But you don’t want to be in a sticky situation with money if the building suddenly needs expensive extermination. If it’s severe enough, relocation costs for association members may be the responsibility of the association, and those costs add up fast.
Finding the right vendors
Any vendor you hire for your association needs to be fully vetted and insured before you sign a contract. The same is true for exterminators. Make sure that necessary proof of insurance is provided, that they have reviews or references, and that the agreement is amenable to both of you. This could be the start of an ongoing relationship between local businesses and your association, so you want to make sure that you find the right company for the job.
When you’re looking for vendors for your association, why not make it easy? VendorSmart is a web-based application that connects you to vendors who have been fully vetted and certified. You’ll be able to view and upload documents and connect with vendors right away in the easy-to-use interface.
Services include risk and compliance management, qualified vendor sourcing, a space for project bidding and proposal requests, and implementation and support. Contact VendorSmart today to get started.