Rentals, Rats & Landlords

August 5th, 2012

I was recently called to a house that had suspected rats. This house was in a nice neighborhood with well kept lawns. I came highly reccommended to the landlord, they owned this house and the one next door, and lived about 40 miles away. After inspecting the house, I called the owner and informed him of the infeststion and he ask me to get started with an elimination process and to send the paperwork to him via an email attachment, so I did. One week after starting the baiting program for rats, I re-inspected the property and again called the property owner to inform him of these findings of an ongoing rodent infestation in this house. He replied and I quote, “I ain”t going to fix that rental property, that is all it is, a rental property”. I let it go and thanked him for the work. Now, the real story is this. That landlord is a bonafide idiot. The cost of fixing this house is far far less than the cost of an emergency room visit or a law suit. If money is so tight that he can’t fix the structure, he needs to get out of the rental business. Repairs are done to fix the problem from re-occurring. The simple cost of cleaning the house and getting a new tennant is going to outway the cost of fixing the problem, and this idiot still has the same original problem of rats coming into the building. Shame on this man for putting his tennants in danger for the cost of saving a few dollars. I do suggest to any landlord of this kind, that you would get the problem fixed if you were living in this house and YOU should get it fixed to protect other people,,,,,,,, shame on you landlords that are like this. Tennants, stand up to these idiots and make them fix things at their cost or you have other options,,,,, you can always move, breaking your lease because of an out of control rat infestation is always going to stand up court in your favor. Tennants, protect yourself, protect your family, protect your personal belongings, pets and visitors to your house. No one in this country or any other for that matter should have to live with rats in their house. Hold landlords accountable for their ineptness, stupdiity and low value of your life. When discussing these rodent problems with your landlord, be sure to use words like law suit, judge, court, attorneys, etc.. I hope for you that these kinds of landlords use professional companies to do this type work and not themselves do the work. I wish you well.

Bed Bugs or Bat Bugs

August 31st, 2010

I just finished work on a very nice home in a very nice neighborhood. Bats were in the attic, as were bat bugs. They are cousins to the bed bug, quite often homeowners will have a bat bug problem that gets diagnosed as a bed bug problem. They do just about the same things in the same ways and getting rid of them is the same also. However with bat bugs, if the bats are not excluded (exclusion repairs) from the structure, more bat bugs are highly likely to invade the living quarters of the structure. Now numerous problems have occured. Bat removal, exclusion repairs, bat bug pest control treatment, guana (bat bug droppings/fecal matter) removal, perhaps some insulation removal and then re-insulating are the basic measures needed as a minimum to establish good control of this non-life threatening situation. Most homeowners are ill prepared for this level of work and it is recommemded that they seek professional help regarding these matters. Bat bugs can lie dorment for 9 months to a year and wake up very hungry. When no bats, rats, squirrels, or birds are available as a host the bat bugs will travel thru wall voids and can surface in the living quarters where they will attack a person or a pet to be the host. Batbugs are blood suckers, causing small red welts that lead to scratching which can lead to various infections. Should you have a bat problem in your attic or walls it is also recommended that you ask the right questions. Is the company or person doing all of the work licensed and insured (check with your state licensing agency, usually the Department of Natural Resources),,,, are they capable of doing all the things necessary to remedy the problem or will you have to call 2, 3, or 4 companies to get all things accomplished,,, will they be killing bats or simply relocating them with no harm to the bats,,, what type warranties do they offer on completion of all work? Do not be afraid to ask any questions, remember it is your house,  your money, and you are in charge. If bats have been there for a period of time (several months or several years), it is not necessary to get the work done right now but it is important to get the work done right. Take time to inquire about the company doing the work, ask for credentials, proof of insurance, and a copy of a business license, you may want to ask for references. Do not be bullied or intimidated to make a rush decision made out of fear of bats, do your research and pick a company who is qualified, honest and legal ( they are everywhere to be found). Happy trapping.

Firestation 19, Virginia Highlands

July 9th, 2010

Several weeks back I was going thru the Viriginia Highlands suburb of Atlanta and passed by the old firehouse on Highland Avenue. This is a beautiful building built in 1924 and it is still used today to house the brave firefighters and equipment that proudly serves that area. As I drove by I thought the building certainly would have had some rats and or squirrels over the years and maybe even a current infestation of some kind. I went back to the firehouse, introduced myself and ask, “Can I fix your facility”? As it happened, they did have a family of gray squirrels living in the attic and they were also much appreciative of my help in solving their problem. I did a complete and thorough inspection, formulated a plan of attack and did my initial setup for the squirrels. I also repaired numerous openings in the gutter line and eave soffet area, leaving one main opening for the squirrels to utilize. After catching all of the squirrrels, I secured the last opening, thereby preventing the animals from continuing to use the attic as a harborage area. My assistant ask how much money I would write off for doing this work, my answer was none. Sometimes we just have to pay it forward. I am very glad to help people who are always putting their lives on the line to save other peoples lives, they are the HEROS. This firehouse is an awesome part of history which needs to retrofitted and modernized to better help the people who help us. They have caps, t-shirts, patches for sale, they do a lot of local pr work, they are always ready for any emergency, stop by and look at the firetruck built in 1926, what a beauty this one is. Make a donation to their building fund, it is tax deductible and a great way to give back a little something. Engine Company 19, I salute you.

Rats and Luxury Homes

June 22nd, 2010

After being in the business of getting animals ouf of homes for 25 years, I sometimes think I  have seen everything when it comes to rats and squirrels entering homes,,,, but I haven’t. I am currently working on a very large home on a golf course community and it has rats. Rats do not know who you are or how much money you have. Rats are rats, they are creatures of habit, always seeking  food, water, and shelter. Food and water is abundant everywhere for the animals, so I focus on the repairs of the structure in an effort to fix the problem. Doing a bandaid approach and fixing one opening will not stop animal infestations in the future. When animals invade a structure, the solution will always be in complete and thorough repairs. This particular home is spectactular, it is very well decorated, and could on the cover of many magazines, but it still had rats. The homeowners did not do anything to attract the animals but they still showed up. This home had openings on it that were big enough for the rats to crawl right in, they did not have to gnaw on wood to make an opening. they simply found a weak link in the construction and took advantage of it. These type openings are built into the home during construction, original or addon, it doesn’t matter. Anytime a contractor is doing something to your home on the exterior shell, there is a very very good chance they are going to fix your problem, but there is also a very very good chance they will leave openings that allow animals to enter. Most of there openings are going to be in out of the way places the homeowner will not seen, but the rats and squirrels will certainly find them.  The long term solution to keeping rats out of structures will always be in the repairs. When shopping for someone like me, make sure they have a city or county business license and liablity insurance. Over the past several years many people have attempted to do what I do and now, there is a lot in incompatancy in the market. Some of these new people will take your money and run. They will not return phone calls because they are thieves and had no intention of completing the work. Ask for references, check them out, call the Better Business Bureau, contact the governing agency that issues the license and permits in your state. I wish you well in your search for a professional who will correct your problem, warrant their work and give you piece of mind that your home has been repaired and is safe for your family.

Insurance Bundling

March 18th, 2010

For many years I had Progressive Insurance on my company truck and thought I was getting good rates but did not look farther for more competitives prices. Last summer I bought a new car, met with the agent for Progressive to get prices and set up a policy for that car. As I was setting at the desk looking at the computer screen with her, a very interesting thing happened. I told her to add the car to the exsisting policy and inquired about a policy discount. When she pulled up the  info, Progressive was not on the screen, I was told these were the best rates and I was being lead to another company with what I thought was some high prices. I demanded she go beyond that and go directly to Progressive which she did,,, at that point she acted both dumb and dumbfouned, like “Oh, here it is”. Well, these prices with Progressive were $288.oo less, each 6 month policy period,,,, $576.oo less for the year. Because I was going to get the car in another 10 minutes, I paid for the Progressive policy but knew I was going to shop around,,,, both this agent and Progressive was going to lose my business. Two months later when my truck policy was ready for renewal, I contacted the company who had my homeowners policy, with their various discounts, I doubled the limits of coverage and saved substantily by doing so. When the new car policy came due, both the agent and Progressive lost my business, probably for ever. The new company now has all of my insurance, saves me money, and has a better rating than the old company. I highly recommend insurance bundling with one company, but first do your homework, find the people you like working with, the company that works best for you, and take charge your stuff.

Squirrel problem from a year ago!

September 4th, 2009

I was called to a house in Virgina Highlands today that I inspected last year. At that time the house had a grey squirrel family living in the attic, I trapped the squirrels and relocated them to a rural area. The homeowners decided not to do any repairs last year so all of the openings were still in place and readily available for any nuisance animal to re-enter at their discretion. This is a rental house and the landlord just refused to pay a repair bill. Consequently, the tennants moved out and the landlord was faced with finding new tennants and still having the same problem areas in the structure. New tennants have recently moved in, complained about noises in the attic and wanted the problem corrected as the noises were scaring a 10 year girl.  Now the landlord is more receptive to correcting the problem, has to pay another elimination charge plus the repair bill. The sooner the animal situation is properly diaginosed, the easier it is to correct all of the problems with nuisance animals. Always remember, complete and thorough inspections afford the opportunity for complete and thorough repairs. Complete and thorough repairs will always be the solution to invasion by any nuisance animal. Lastly, when you hire someone to do these repairs, make sure they have a warranty to back up their work and if necessary, ask for references from recent work. I am assuming you have already seen some proof of credentials, insurance and and a business license.

Nuisance animals = more than one problem

September 2nd, 2009

Today I inspected a house which has bats in the attic. During my inspection I found rat droppings. The new attic  insulation was put there 3 1/2 years ago which puts a time line on the situation for me. In the past 3 1/2 years rats have been coming and going at their leisure and the homeowners did not even know it. So, the original problem is bat removable, exclusion repairs to prevent future infesations, and soiled insulation removable and re-insulate those areas. In addition, more complete and thorough repairs are required in order to prevent rats from re-entering the structure, rodent elimination, and some more soiled insulation removable and re-insulating these areas will also be required  from a health standpoint.  Now you can see how one problem which goes uncorrected can ballon into some serious and major problems before it all is corrected. It  is fairly common for most sturctures to have evidence of numerous animals in their attic and crawl spaces over a period of 20, 30, or 40 years. Sometimes this evidence is from an old infestation but still requires complete and thorough repairs in order to stop future infestations. Sometime this evidence is from current infestations and will require complete and thorough repairs to prevent future infestations from occurring. Anytime nuisance animals invade structures, the answer to the problem will be in exclusion repairs. One pest control company in Lawrenceville says that repairs should only be done as a last resort and that he can charge you to repeatedly put down more chemicals for rodent control and that will stop them from entering your structure. HOGWASH, if you want to keep animals out of your home, then you had better have a professional exclsuion repair specialist do complete and thorough repairs on the structure. Continuing to add more chemical to the environment is certainly not the solution to this problem but it sort of does give him job security as opposed to correcting the problem. If you are having someone do exclusionary repairs to your home, ask them to show proof of  laibility insurance, Georgia DNR credentials, Georgia Dept of Ag credentials, a city or county business license and any thing else you wish in an effort to prove they are a professional company. This industry is full of theives and morons, buyer beware.

Rats, electrical wires and fires

September 1st, 2009

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