The Landlord, The Tenant and Us

As Pest Control Professionals we run into all sorts of things; we have to deal with many people and different scenarios. Nothing is ever the same.

Over the years I have seen a lot. I haven’t seen everything as there are still situations I walk into that make my jaw drop.

Truth be told these places are usually rented, it’s not reported until the situation is well of control and has started to affect others within the building or vicinity.

When this happens situations can get tense as anger, frustration etc can start to boil over and emotions take over. By no means am I saying its always a tenant’s fault things happen. I’ve seen good tenants, bad landlords, bad tenants,  good landlords, my personal favourite bad tenants and bad landlords.

When these situations occur co-operation on all parties is needed 100% or imminent failure of treatment will occur. This will lead to a lot of anger, hostility and possible lawsuit.

By no means is this article any sort of legal advice or documentation. These are things I have experienced firsthand over the last twelve years of pest control and six-plus of running my own current business.

Our Job: our job is to make sure the problem is taken care of in a safe, proper and effective way. We are licensed to use Commercial and Professional grade product which is federally regulated. To get an Operation licence in Ontario proof of insurance must be provided and the licence is renewed at the end of every year. The Operator must also have a valid Exterminators licence too which is Provincially regulated. We use product within the rules and regulations posted on the product.

In my early days learning about Pest Control, I was always told: “The label is the law.” End of story.

Tenants: must understand that we owe them nothing except respect for their personal belongings and their home.

We do not answer to you nor do we have to produce any licence or credentials of any sort as you are not the client. The landlord is the client and the only person we will answer too. We will, however, answer all questions that we can to make things go smooth as possible but anything after that I don’t have to divulge unless the landlord gives me written permission to do so.

A few years back I was called to court because of a landlord and tenant case: I was asked why I wouldn’t communicate with tenants after treatment but would beforehand. My answer was “ they are not the client and I owed them nothing. Communication to get everything prepared before treatment is crucial to treatment success. It is in mine and their best interest that is goes well.”

The landlord had no issues with the communication before treatment but forbade me to speak about the treatment or anything afterwards.

The judge confirmed at that time to the tenants that they were owed nothing.

Over the years I have dealt with very co-operative tenants and things went well and the problem was solved quickly and efficiently.

I have also dealt with tenants that did not want to co-operate and seemed to believe that they didn’t have too.

I’ve had tenants be problematic during inspections to the point where doing my job was being hindered. They were belligerent to me, to the landlord and it got to the point where I had enough.

I ended the inspection and flat out told the tenant “ I’m here to help you and if you don’t want to co-operate that’s quite fine. Truth is, I don’t care if you sleep with bed bugs because my bed doesn’t have them.” That was the end of that inspection.

Some reading this may find this amusing, some may find my response rude and unprofessional but we need total co-operation and its for the tenant’s benefit.

Landlord/Property Manager: we expect and need them to enforce things. We have before treatment procedures and aftercare. They need to be done so things can be solved as quickly as possible. Some things take a lot of time (cockroaches) were multiple visits are required and it takes time for things to stop. It is up to the Landlord to make sure that tenants are complying with all instructions.

I’ve had it out with some landlords because a problem was not getting solved but every time I went there a problem was present in a different unit, just to find out it had been going on for months.

This is frustrating on so many levels. This was going on every time musical apartments and we could not get on top of it. Tenants were not following instructions and would go months without saying anything. Meanwhile, tenants would take things into their own hands and just make things worse.

This situation did turn into a blow out between myself and the landlord. “I’m sick and tired of seeing you waste your money and my time for tenants who don’t care. It’s not my job to enforce my instructions, that’s your job and long you don’t, this will never be solved.”

Regrettably, things went the way they did as that was the last conversation we had but this is just an example of why things failed.

Monitors and glue boards were put into places that would monitor the situation but since the landlord walked with me every time, he knew where things were and saw what I saw but failure to enforce what needed to be done as part of why things failed.

We never got 100% tenant co-operation and constantly started behind. We could never catch up and in the end, it was a total failure.

I tell this so people who read this, follow us can learn how we all have our part to do. If one fails the others do. You have to understand that we all need to work together.

Failure on one part means failure for all of us.

I’m am extremely prideful when it comes to my work and even tho treatment failures happen (  eg product failure) I take it to heart because to me there is nothing worse than being associated with shoddy work.