This request recently came from a housing authority (HA) that hosted an IPM in Multifamily Housing Training. Not having an inspection checklist that prompted property managers to look for pest conducive conditions was a barrier to integrated pest management (IPM) implementation.
Pest management professionals (PMPs) should inspect the home and provide maintenance and resident recommendations on a unit-specific form at each service. Although these expert recommendations are a valuable part of the service HAs pay for, I’ve found that property managers often miss them in the paperwork shuffle.
The more eyes you have trained to look for pests and pest conducive conditions, the greater the chance the pests will be managed property-wide. In addition, inspecting by “thinking like a pest” will draw attention to problems that, if not addressed, will continue to grow until they cannot be overlooked. For example, pest inspection will identify the following in early stages:
- Water leaks (in roofs and pipes);
- Holes in walls (interior and exterior);
- Problems in wall voids; and
- Poor housekeeping (including hoarding).
Take action as soon as a problem is noted to prevent pests, avoid large maintenance projects, and get residents help before their behavior negatively affects themselves and their neighbors.
I realize HA managers have enough on their plates, so I encourage you to integrate pest inspection items into the inspection checklists that you already use. Pest inspection should happen, at least
- At each pest control service by the PMP;
- At unit-turnover by maintenance;
- Within 90 days of move-in by the property manager or housing inspector;
- Annually (or more) during the housekeeping inspection by the property manager or housing inspector; and
- During preparation for REAC by whoever is checking the property.
Our trainer, Phil Coles, and I developed the following inspection checklist based on those I’ve seen from PMPs and HAs and the IPM process we’ve found to work in housing. Download Housekeeping Inspection Checklist. Here's a sample:
This form is a work-in-progress. Let us know if you have any suggestions by e-mailing me at email@example.com.
As you will see, the checklist prompts the inspector to follow up on deficiencies and gives the resident specific tasks that he or she must complete to come into compliance. Having these expectations clear will enable many residents to do their part. Simply telling the resident to "clean up" is not specific enough. But there are some residents who are unable or unwilling to do their part. Get support for those who are unable (identified at the beginning of the checklist) and include language in your lease and housekeeping standards to fall back on to motivate those who are unwilling.
The most current version will be available for download here or…*spoiler alert* on the new StopPests.org website which we expect to release in January 2012!
Happy Holidays! I hope your homes and hearts overflow with joy.