The Sting of Tenant Problems
Rentals are fabulous. They create wealth over time. They can become a money pit, but assuming you start right and manage things marginally well, you’ll do okay.
You’ll do better (financially) if you manage the places yourself. On the other hand, arguably you’ll enjoy a greater level of sanity if you get the right property manager in your stead. I have a foot in both camps at present. I am a property manager, I use a property manager, and I’m even in the process of trying to use an assistant to help with properties. If you’re on the front lines of management, you’re going to have to deal with one of the big downsides of rentals – tenants.
Yes, people have a way of jacking up your plans, your day, and your peace. They call and make small issues sound like big problems. So it was no surprise when I got a call late this past summer on a place that I manage. There were bees in the house. My initial thought was “No kidding – bees in the summer?” or “Why are you telling me?”
Anyone in customer service knows you have to hide your inner jackass and put on a friendly face. It turned out it was a couple bees in the kitchen and there had been a bee a few days prior. Naturally I should drop everything, grab my beekeeper suit and head out. I opted for “Okay – let me know if more get in.”
More did get in. The phone rang again in a couple days – the tenant is getting six or seven bees a day in the house. Six or seven? Really? I am naturally skeptical of such claims, yet you can’t dismiss them either. After all even if it’s 3-4 it’s beyond the natural occurrence of summertime and open windows. Something is going on. “I’ll come out tomorrow and take look.”
When I arrive I find the tenant has been so thorough as to keep some dead bees in a sandwich bag so we can identify them. Alrighty! I’m not really interested in taking the “bag-o-bees” home, but I do take a picture in case I want to try my hand at identifying them online.
I look around hoping for a bees’ nest clearly visible on the outside of the house near the kitchen window. No such luck. I find a piece of siding has blown loose and the “bees,” which I actually suspect are Yellow Jackets, are nesting in the wall. Ugh. I’m just dumb enough to try a fix myself, so I try my can of spray that’s supposed to reach like 15 feet. Unfortunately my ammunition falls short of the mark. Putting plan B into action, I call our roofer to take a shot at it from a ladder.
The day following the roofer’s visit I find an early morning voicemail. It sounded like something out of a horror movie. Bees everywhere. Apparently the spraying outside left the bees scurrying away from the poison and finding their way in. I knew this required immediate action, so I headed over with my secret weapon, the vacuum. I was still skeptical as to the number of bees inside.
I arrived and found the claims were inflated, it wasn’t exactly a “swarm”, but still the issue was, nevertheless legitimate. With a long reach vacuum tube I proudly slayed several bees. And wouldn’t you know it I got stung at the very end when I thought the real threat was abated. Can’t let your guard down!
In the end we ultimately had to call in a pest pro to knock out the problem with a guarantee behind their work. That fixed the bee problem, and moreover the problem of the phone calls. Sometimes you just can’t handle it on your own and need to call in the pro. The trick is figuring out which is which. Sometimes even with experience you take a detour down the wrong road a bit.
Oh and by the way, the bee guy said the spray was the wrong approach for a nest you can’t clearly see. Well at least I have a good name for a bee guy now!