Help with Housekeeping

The Ideal Procedure

As part of the IPM team, residents should be held to standards and know how to keep their home safe, decent, and sanitary. Property managers need to ensure the following:

  1. At move-in, residents should understand the housekeeping responsibilities explained in the lease. Place sticky trap monitors in the home to show it is pest-free (what a conversation starter!). When welcoming residents into the new home, tell them to call in a work order if a pest is on the monitor and mention they won’t be charged for pest control.
  2. Within 90 days of move-in, housing staff should inspect for poor housekeeping behavior. Identifying poor housekeepers early helps prevent infestations. The housing provider can then line up assistance for those who need help.
  3. Each unit should be routinely inspected and monitored for pests. The property manager should conduct a housekeeping inspection annually and a pest management professional (PMP) should inspect the unit and change the monitoring devices biannually, quarterly, bimonthly, or monthly. A well-kept home makes the PMP’s work more efficient and effective.

If A Unit Fails a Housekeeping Inspection

First, find out why the resident is not in compliance with housekeeping standards.

If the resident can’t do his or her part in pest control

Many situations can result in poor housekeeping: Physical limitations can make the housekeeping difficult; cognitive limitations can make it impossible to break down tasks into manageable steps and take action. Residents may not understand their role because of hearing or vision deficiencies, a language barrier, or illiteracy. Or perhaps a resident was never taught how to clean. The majority of poor housekeepers are not unwilling, they are unable.

Understand the situation in each focus unit before proceeding with a solution. Look through "Options for people who have difficulty doing their part in pest control" by Christiana Bratiotis, a researcher on hoarding at Boston University. Then implement strategies to help the resident clean, organize, and maintain a well-kept home.

If the resident won’t do his or her part in pest control.

Issue a lease violation notice with right to remedy. Provide very specific steps the resident must take to come into compliance. If the head of the household is not the problem, issue separate notices for each resident in the home, detailing responsibilities. The manager should be willing to stand behind the lease, emphasizing the importance of healthy, pest-free housing.