Property managers have many responsibilities, all of which have a rightful place at the top of the priority list. One responsibility that can’t fall to the bottom of the list though — or heaven forbid be forgotten entirely — is weed control. While at first glance it might not seem as if it’s terribly important to get rid of pesky weeds, it might surprise you how much it actually does matter and how much it can affect the bottom line.
If you aren’t convinced that weed control matters, consider how weeds can affect everything from the value of your property to the health of your residents.
When you look at a property, what are the first things you notice? It’s pretty easy to identify a well-maintained property, and just as easy to spot one that hasn’t been cared for. One of the biggest signs of neglect? Weeds everywhere.
Even if the areas around the building appear relatively well-maintained, if the edges of the property, such as along tree or property lines, are still choked with weeds, that is often a sign that the owners have cut corners elsewhere as well. Even if you aren’t planning to sell a property any time soon, keeping the landscape as weed-free as possible helps maintain its value. In one study, researchers predicted that invasive weeds can reduce property values by as much as 10 percent, which could mean tens of thousands of dollars lost. In the long run, it costs much less to pay for a professional weed control service and avoid the problem altogether.
When wildfires destroyed millions of acres of property in California last fall, some experts noted that poor management of weeds and other debris possibly contributed to the blazes. In fire-prone areas, particularly those with hot and dry conditions during the summer months, weed abatement is a serious issue, and homeowners and property managers may be required by law to remove weeds to protect their properties. Allowing weeds, grasses and other combustible materials to grow unfettered near your property creates a significant danger to your property and tenants. Therefore, to help protect against fire danger, property managers must have a weed control plan in place.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is at least one species of disease-transmitting tick in all of the lower 48 states — and Cornell University has found that on the East Coast alone, there are at least 26 different types of ticks that can transmit Lyme disease.
What does that have to do with weed control? Well, ticks tend to prefer to hang out in areas of dense foliage, such as wooded areas and weedy patches, and will typically wait on taller blades of grass and weeds for something to come by that they can latch on to and feed from. Getting rid of these weeds and regularly mowing the lawn to keep the grass short can help reduce the number of ticks in the yard and protect your tenants from tick bites that could infect them with disease.
It’s a simple equation: The better looking and more meticulously maintained your properties are, the higher the rents you can collect. While factors such as location, the number of bedrooms, available amenities and the appliances in the property all affect rental rates, the condition of the property and its curb appeal also have a significant affect. Generally speaking, a property that is well-maintained will spend less time on the market and will garner higher rents than one of a similar size with comparable amenities that looks rundown and neglected. Taking care of the landscape and getting rid of weeds can go a long way toward attracting good tenants who will pay for a nice place to live.
Weed control certainly isn’t the only landscape maintenance chore that property managers need to take care of, but it does need to be close to the top of the list. Letting weeds go only allows them to spread and take root, which will eventually lead to even more costs for abatement and to fix other problems that they may cause. It’s better to be proactive and prevent the problem before it starts.