IS LANDLORD RESPONSIBLE FOR PIGEONS?
Pigeons can pose serious problems - both structurally and health-wise. Once they decide they like a particular home or building they tend to make it their own very quickly. How do they do that? By pooping all over it, of course! Since a good portion of the materials that they use to construct their nests is their own feces, it's an important part of their world. Fortunately for the pigeons, they poop an awful lot, so they have more than enough material to work with. As I've often said through the years: "Nothing Poops Like A Pigeon!"
Pigeon Feces Structural Damages
As you can see in the picture to the right, pigeon feces can and will accumulate on the roof and cause all sorts of problems from discoloration to leaks. Over the past 32+ years that I've been in the pigeon control business, I've seen all sorts of different structural damages caused by pigeon poop, including:
- Roof leaks. As the feces accumulates, it clogs up the drainage system that's built into the roof causing rain water to go places it's not supposed to go. We have done many pigeon control jobs that were referred by roofing companies.
- It discolors the roof tiles and compromises the strength and integrity of the tiles. Not only is that bad for the roof, but it looks terrible and hurts the value of the property. It may also cause problems with the HOA.
- Solar panels: they love nesting under solar panels. Then they roost on top of the panels and - you guessed it - poop on the panels, which damages the panels along with the roof.
- It can short out electrical systems. You would be surprised....
- It ruins paint and stucco. The feces is extremely acidic, so it will damage the exterior finish of the structure so that just cleaning it off isn't an option.
- Pigeon feces can stain and degrade cool decking, pavers, sandstone, tile, rock features, statues, chimneys and just about any other surface it's allowed to accumulate on or in.
- Pigeons, along with some other species of birds, love to perch and sometimes nest in or on signage. That problem not only damages the signage, but doesn't do anything positive for the image of that particular business, either.
- A pigeon problem will absolutely lower the property value. Think about it: if you were viewing a property you were considering purchasing, how would you like walking through poop to get to the front door? Probably not what you were looking for.
Pigeon Feces Health Risks
Pigeon feces also presents possible health risks to residents and their pets. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, among other sources, pigeon droppings can lead to Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis and Psittacosis. As the feces drys out and breaks down it turns into a very fine powder and easily becomes airborne. The contaminants are then introduced into the resident's air supply where it enters the body via the lungs, skin, eyes, food, etc. Since there is a constant supply of feces, it becomes an on-going risk factor. Folks with breathing problems may be at a higher risk.
Who's Responsible For The Expense?
It makes perfect sense that any problem of this magnitude needs to be dealt with quickly. But pigeon control can be expensive, so who's on the hook? In Keri Baker's guest post here on my site, Who Is Responsible For Pest Control: Landlords Or Tenants, she says that pest problems that evolve from natural circumstances are generally the landlord's responsibility. So, as far as I'm concerned, unless the tenant brought the pigeons with them, it would be the property owner's expense to get rid of the pigeons. Besides, ultimately, it's the property owner that has the most to lose should there be major damages to the structure.
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