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Bugs in your Buildings? (Protecting your Real Estate Investment if you Self-Manage)

I was listening to the April REIN meeting CD that they send me and Barry Maguire from the Ritchie Mill Law Office was talking about leases. He told a story about a court case where the lease said the tenant could have a gecko….but didn’t realize that geckos eat live crickets.

Geckos eat baby crickets and the leftovers infest your apartment buildings.I had to laugh, because I’ve seen that incident once or twice before. Just last year (spring 2007) we has a cricket problem in a 3-story walk-up apartment building. Suite 103 and 105 noticed crickets. We promptly sent out our pest control guys, and for the moment let it go because they were on the ground floor, near the alley, and the next door dumpster. Their suites looked clean, and there was no other explanation of why there’d be crickets. Bugs migrate inside in the spring when things thaw, and more often that most of us realize.

Then, two weeks later we had a complaint from 105 and 207. This led our smart caretaker to ask around about the folks in 205 and discovered their boy had a Kimodo dragon. They didn’t respond to a knock on the door, so a 24 hour notice we went in to discover….no dragon.

They’re smart.

However, not smart enough to take out the aquarium, hot rock, and a couple of dead crickets. The tank was on a dresser right next to the air-vent. After Mr. Dragon had dinner, the leftover crickets would eventually fall down the vent and make their way to the other suites.

By now you all should be checking your leases to make sure that reptiles are not allowed in your investment properties. They make great pets, but not very good tenants.

Pets were allowed in their lease, but they continued to lie about having a reptile. They recieved a bill for the fumiagtion, which I don’t think they ever paid, but their scaly little friend disappeared. It just happened that rent increases were due the next month and they recieved a fairly strong increase. N.B. Don’t ever, ever, ever gouge your tenants when giving rent increases. If you’re really unreasonable they’ll take you to court and get the increase overturned. There’s a difference between a strong increase and insanity.

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