October 7, 2016 / Bed Bugs

Boston’s Bed Bugs: How To Deal With Night Terrors In Beantown’s Competitive Rental Market

When it comes to multi-family residences in Boston, your reputation can be a make-or-break factor for prospective tenants. The city and its surrounding neighborhoods are amongst the most desirable in the nation. At one time, even as recently as the Red Sox last World Series Championship, this meant that landlords had no shortage of tenants or leasing confidence. This sureness is waning as the rental market, now saturated by new construction projects, is becoming one of the most competitive in the country (let alone in New England).

You’ve heard the phrase a million times over; supply and demand. Boston saw over 6,000 new apartment units hit the online rental market last year, up from 4,400 units in 2014 and 2,400 in 2013. With the average rent topping $2,000 and a wealth of new options, you can bet that prospective tenants will be exercising due diligence in their search for a new home.

Tenant retention in an increasingly competitive market is no small feat, but successfully keeping tenants is the key to building a strong reputation in the city. The longer tenants stay, the longer their list of kudos grows, and the more your property is worth if and when they choose to move on. A history of lease renewals handles one of the most important facets of your building’s marketing: extending the wait list. A wait list in a city like Boston speaks volumes, but if prospective tenants are waiting out a building’s bed bug problem, they can and will go elsewhere.

Bed Bugs Can Slip Through The Cracks, But Landlords Can’t

If you're under the impression that a bed bug problem can be "swept under the rug" when listing space in your rental property, you’re sadly mistaken. City officials in Boston field a few hundred complaints of bed bugs every single year, and they’re only increasing in numbers. There have been over 1,800 complaints filed since 2012, with upwards of 400 in 2015 alone.

Making things harder for landlords seeking to mask their pest problems, the Boston Globe has an interactive map of all of the complaints filed within the city. Not only are the number of complaints highly publicized, but the neighborhoods from which they came are pinpointed for potential tenants looking to move in. There is no hiding a bed bug infestation. Mind you, these statistics are only for complaints filed with Boston officials. It can be assumed that bed bug issues reported to responsible landlords, those who took the appropriate eradication measures, were not filed with city.

Don’t Be A Statistic

Bed bugs become a noticeable problem for tenants once they’ve been given the time to reproduce, which they don’t need much of. Females can lay up to twelve eggs per day, and the eggs hatch anywhere from 6 to 17 days afterward. Though it is on the higher end of the spectrum, in just 2 weeks your tenants could have over 150 bed bugs in the cracks and crevices of their rental spaces.

Unlike fleas and other common rental property pests, bed bugs have a lifespan that can last over a year. With a very long lifespan, and the ability to reproduce often, bed bugs are an infestation that needs to be dealt with in an immediate fashion. Boston living isn’t cheap, and a bed bug problem will leave tenants feel that they are "paying" too much in more ways than one.

Adopt an “if you see something, say something” policy with your tenants upon move-in. An open line of communication between you and your tenants is crucial to maintaining healthy relationships. If a tenant comes to you with an issue, we offer minimally invasive solutions that are proven to resolve the issue quickly and safely. Our multi-family property protection provides effective pest control with the least amount of disruption to your tenants routine daily life. Stay competitive in this ever-changing Boston rental market with JP Pest Services!