Mouse vs Condo Board! How Condo Buildings Manage Pest Control in Fall
Autumn has arrived in Alberta once again, and as temperatures begin to fall, the issue of pest control becomes increasingly important. As droves of mice search for warmth and food inside our homes, all manner of critters big and small are looking for a place to shelter for the winter.
When it comes to mice in the fall and pest control year-round, your condo board is hard at work keeping your home safe and sound from unwanted furry visitors. So what can a condo board do to protect owners from damage caused by infestations of mice and other wildlife?
Things Condo Boards Can Do to Manage Pest Control in Buildings Like Yours
1. May the bylaws be with you.
Noah Huot at Catalyst Condo Management is your ‘go to’ for everything related to pest control in your building. He knows that condo owners may be sick and tired of hearing the words, “read your bylaws,” but this is important when it comes to pest control. Different buildings have different bylaws regarding this issue and can choose to act in a variety of different ways.
While owners commonly assume that a mouse found inside their condo is not their responsibility, this is not the case. Unless otherwise indicated in the bylaws, mice are an individual owner’s responsibility.
For example, Noah tells us that some building bylaws consider mice in two units, as opposed to just one, to be an issue affecting the whole building. In this case, the condo corporation will pay for all pest control mitigation in your unit. But other buildings have different rules.
Noah knows that bylaws can become confusing in condo buildings and is available to help condo boards and owners manage pest control problems. When in doubt, ask Noah!
2. Prevention measures Condo Boards use to protect our homes.
Due to the enormous damages that can be caused by infestations of mice and other creatures, condo boards usually take steps to prevent them before they even happen. Typically, this means consulting with professionals at a local pest control company, who assess conditions on-site and recommend measures that can vary from rodent traps to blockers that prevent birds from infesting dryer vents.
In August or September, rodent traps are usually placed around building exteriors where mice are caught before they can enter the building. Traps are also placed inside building garages and common spaces in hidden or low-profile spots to catch mice in their hiding places. Once a month, a technician checks all the traps and sends a report to Catalyst that details mouse activity on-site.
3. What can a condo board do about infestations in common areas?
Condo boards have a duty to at least consult a professional when a suspected infestation occurs in common areas. How they choose to act from there may vary and depends greatly on the results of their initial inspection.
Noah remembers an incident in one of their buildings where the main door was propped open in the fall for a resident move. Left open, a large skunk chose to investigate the warm inviting space just inside. Frightened, it sprayed surfaces up and down the hallways of the first floor, causing damage and disrupting lives in the process. The easiest thing condo boards can do to prevent unwanted wildlife from claiming our homes for themselves, he emphasizes, is to keep entrances securely fastened as the temperatures drop, barring critters big and small from jeopardizing the peace.
Noah tells us that 90% of Catalyst’s buildings are equipped with rodent prevention traps that are placed around the exterior of buildings as well as in common spaces indoors. However, despite measures like this being in place, there is still a 75% chance a mouse will enter an owners’ condo from their balcony or patio if they have items stored on their balcony, including garbage bags, recycling bags, or any objects or debris that can provide shelter to mice. Effective pest control throughout a building, therefore, relies crucially on the cooperation of owners in these efforts.
4. What can a condo board do about infestations across multiple units?
Building bylaws may differ from one condo board to the next, prescribing particular ways a board may want to address issues like these. In general terms, it is typically the individual condo owner’s responsibility to deal with mice they find inside their own unit. But what happens when an infestation in a single unit spreads to nearby units and common areas?
Noah recalls a situation at one of Catalyst’s buildings that might send a shiver up your spine! Along a block of townhouses they manage, one of the owners had a great many personal belongings stored inside their home. Whether they were unaware of the growing problem or simply chose to ignore it, they had a burgeoning mouse infestation that was not dealt with promptly. From one single home, Noah describes a “sea of mice” that emerged to menace the entire block. Being alerted to the problem only after mice had eaten their way through the walls to neighbouring units, a great deal of damage was done.
In situations like these, especially when the bylaws are unclear, condo boards may act according to their own discretion. For instance, boards may choose a pest control company to take care of common spaces, while residents are left to make their own arrangements with the company for their individual unit. Or sometimes, boards may choose to hire a pest control company entirely themselves, imposing measures at their expense in common areas as well as in individual units. Knowing and understanding building bylaws is the first step.
Condo board members volunteer their time to help make our communities better places to live. Working in conjunction with condo owners, preventative pest control measures can vastly reduce the chance your condo building will see damage from an infestation. Catalyst Condo Management is always on standby to help you and your condo board manage when critters come to stay! Contact us with all your questions!