Roaches and Rental Properties

Let’s talk roaches and your rental properties.  Disgusting, right? Yes!  So pay attention.

We recently took over a 5 unit apartment here in Olathe, KS.  The owner bought it from a well known local slum lord and to his credit he is working hard and putting in dollars to improve it.  Changing windows, adding working fire alarms and repairing siding is the easy part.  But getting rid of the roaches, if there is an infestation, is work.  And it’s gross.  And it’s costly.


Right after we took it over we had a new tenant ready to move in in no time.  But as he was moving in he wouldn’t even put a box down because we had one of the units exterminated the day before because the tenant complained about some “bugs” and when he got there they had run to his apartment where there were no chemicals.  So naturally he took his box back outside and refused to move in and demanded his security deposit back and a termination of his lease.

We asked for 24 hours to evaluate and had a pest control guy go through and he said “This is the worst roach infestation I’ve ever seen.”  Well, that’s not good.  (We let the new tenant out after the inspection.)

It’s a several week process  to get rid of the majority of these critters and it takes all 5 units cooperating to get it done.  And with this case it looks like it’s going to take eviction of one of the tenants to get rid of the roach “harbor”.

Roaches are a problem if you have unclean tenants.  You add unclean tenants to a multi-unit investment property and you have potential to have tenants complaining, yelling and then leaving.  Don’t let unclean tenants in and monitor to make sure they don’t become that way.

In this case this all gets chalked up to improvements since he had to do a lot of work anyway.  But it was an unexpected headache with big financial consequences for this rental owner.


Filed under Property Management

3 responses to “Roaches and Rental Properties

  1. Mat

    So at what point can you start charging the additional tenants (roaches) rents?!?

  2. Mat,

    This is a sticky questions. Technically they are not on the lease and therefore we should be able to charge them 2x’s rent. However, the problem become collecting. Since their life-cycle is shorter than the time it takes to hire and attorney, sue, win a judgement and then attach whatever wages we can find I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. #Sarcasm

  3. Pat

    Boric Acid. (Roach Proof) at Lowes. Put under your cabinets and in walls when you remodel.

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