Signs of pests call for quick ac­tion

The Province - - HOMES - Tony Gioventu is ex­ec­u­tive director of the Con­do­minium Home Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. Email Tony Gioventu

Dear Tony: Who is re­spon­si­ble for pest re­moval from a strata prop­erty? We have an apart­ment build­ing and 12 town­houses in our strata. The town­house own­ers have been com­plain­ing about chronic wasp nests and the apart­ment own­ers have com­plained about the sound of mice in the walls and at­tics.

We had the same is­sues last year and ev­ery­one took care of their own prob­lems, but this year sev­eral own­ers have re­fused to pay for the ex­ter­mi­na­tors, so the prob­lems are much worse. We would ap­pre­ci­ate some guide­lines for how to address these is­sues.

Cedar Gar­dens Strata Council

Dear council mem­bers: In most in­fes­ta­tions of ro­dents and in­sects, ac­cess be­gins out­doors and through the com­mon prop­erty. It could be through vents, foun­da­tions, walls, bal­conies, win­dows and doors left open in the warm sea­son, or fail­ures in the build­ing en­ve­lope sys­tem.

The point of ac­cess is com­mon prop­erty un­less you are a bare-land strata where own­ers are re­spon­si­ble for their own build­ings that are not shown on the strata plan.

Un­der­stand­ing ac­cess is the first step to un­der­stand­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity. While strata coun­cils of­ten refuse to pay for the costs of pest con­trol, in most in­stances it is a com­mon ex­pense. The sooner the strata cor­po­ra­tion takes re­spon­si­bil­ity and co-or­di­nates the re­moval and con­trol of pests, the greater chance of pro­tect­ing prop­erty and pre­vent­ing fu­ture is­sues.

Rac­coons that at­tempt ac­cess to roof­ing areas are gen­er­ally look­ing for a place to nest, but the quick and safe re­lo­ca­tion of our masked friends is pos­si­ble while min­i­miz­ing dam­age to our build­ings. Pests that in­vade our liv­ing spa­ces will cause se­ri­ous build­ing dam­age to elec­tri­cal and me­chan­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture, as well as nest­ing in wall cav­i­ties and con­tam­i­nat­ing in­su­la­tion.

It is un­likely the in­fes­ta­tion in your walls and ceil­ings are mice and most likely are rats, as we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease of rat in­fes­ta­tions this year.

Wasp nests, bees that hive in walls and at­tics, bird in­fes­ta­tions, cock­roaches, bed bugs, car­pen­ter ants, ter­mites, mice, rats, rac­coons, pos­sums and bears are all part of en­vi­ron­ment. Res­i­dents and strata coun­cils need to re­port any in­fes­ta­tions or in­ci­dents and address them as soon as pos­si­ble.

We also need to en­sure our en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­round­ings are not en­cour­ag­ing in­fes­ta­tions. Bird feed­ers, feed­ing of wild an­i­mals, hoard­ing in crawl spa­ces, garages and car­ports, bar­be­cues left with food debris, unat­tended wood piles, un­se­cure com­posters and rot­ting wet wood all at­tract pests and an­i­mals. Own­ers and ten­ants who do not main­tain and re­pair their strata lots or con­tribute to the prob­lem by bring­ing in pests, should note the strata cor­po­ra­tion may seek dam­ages and costs against your strata lot.

If there is any sign of a pest or an­i­mal prob­lem, con­tact your strata council im­me­di­ately. It can ar­range for a qual­i­fied pest con­trol ser­vice to man­age the prob­lem quickly and pre­vent prop­erty dam­age or health risk to your res­i­dents.

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