Plagued By Pests
A Day in the Life...
I was thrilled to be asked to transfer to a new property that my management company had just acquired. I’d worked hard to establish myself as one of the company’s most successful leasing consultants and frequently trained their new hires on how to close more prospects. Feeling great about this promotion, I arrived at the new community early on my first day, eager to begin the lease-up.
I pulled into the parking lot and was getting out of my car when a large rat scurried past me. He was so close, I nearly stepped on the creepy thing! I walked up the sidewalk to the leasing office and was about to open the impressive front door when out of the corner of my eye, I saw two more big rats!
Wow! I thought. This is not good! I hurried inside as quickly as I could.
Tina, the property manager who was already settled in her office, came out to greet me. I shook her hand, debating on whether to mention the rodents I’d just encountered or just keep it to myself.
After we’d visited for a few moments, I decided to confide in her about what I’d seen. “Look,” I started, “I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot because I’m really excited to be here, but I just saw three big rats on my way in from the parking lot. Does this property have a rodent problem?”
Tina nodded. “I was going to tell you about it when we toured the property. I was hoping we’d have a chance to have a cup of coffee first.”
She proceeded to tell me that she’d been hired shortly after construction was completed. “Here we have the most beautiful community I’ve ever managed, and it has the worst rodent problem I’ve ever experienced—and I’ve been in this industry over thirty years so that’s saying a lot!”
Snakes, Skunks, Possums . . . Oh, My!
Tina went on to explain that the property was constructed on what was formerly North Texas farmland. Now that winter was coming on, the exterminators said the infestation was likely due to the rodents seeking shelter from the cold. “We also have a problem with mice, snakes, skunks and possums to name a few,” she said.
I must have looked pretty shocked and disgusted because when she saw the look on my face, she said, “Oh, but don’t worry. The owners know what’s going on and we’re working with a pest control company to resolve the issue.”
Well, she wasn’t kidding about the problem! Our management company must have paid thousands of dollars for trapping, spraying, baiting and vacuuming up the assorted trespassers. The pest control company’s trucks were a constant presence at the property. We got to know their representatives quite well and learned a lot about the various critters that our new community had displaced.
Living Close to Nature
To my surprise, leasing the apartments was actually easy. I did some research on the history of the land and the family who’d owned it had it for several generations. Our prospects who were looking for “country living” near the city enjoyed being so close to nature and seemed to appreciate that I was honest about the potential for a critter encounter.
I stayed at this property for a little over three years transitioning from doing the lease-up to working as the assistant manager to Tina. We had a lot of funny (and some not so much!) stories involving the menagerie of intruders who weren’t content to live outdoors. The work orders for pest control were a constant part of this adventure.
During one of my last days there, I walked down to the maintenance shop to say good-bye to my friend and co-worker Phil. As I turned to go inside, flashed in the corner of my eye. I laughed when I realized it was a red fox dashing into the undeveloped field behind our community. When I mentioned it to Phil, he didn’t seem surprised.
He smiled and took me back outside and showed me a couple of battered plastic pet bowls. One had some water in it, the other looked as if it had been licked clean.
I shook my head in amusement when Phil shared he’d felt sorry for the fox because he’d seen another one—likely it’s mate dead on the road. “I can’t help it,” he admitted. “They’re such magnificent creatures. Besides, they were here first!”
“Hey, your secret’s safe with me,” I replied. “Red foxes love to eat mice and rats so in a way, your little friend is doing all of us a solid!”
I love that my last creature sighting was that beautiful red fox. Watching it disappear into the high grass is one of my favorite memories of this property.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country, 30-Love and it's sequel, Match Point.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com