Pests, bugs, and other annoying creatures are a nuisance. They can occur at any time and to anyone. But who is responsible for pest control when renting -the landlord or the tenants? Let’s find out!
Pests are annoying to live with. These include:
- Rats and mice
- Termites and white ants
- Bees and wasps
Dealing with pests in rental properties can cause all sorts of conflicts. For instance, a landlord can allege that the house didn’t have any pests before renting. This allegation could insinuate that the occupant is responsible for the pest invasion.
Equally, occupants can still claim that the pests were already in the rental before their occupation. This could mean that the landlord did not maintain the house properly or get rid of the pests.
In such scenarios, both parties have valid reasons to downplay their responsibility. The good thing is that you can avoid these conflicts by clarifying renting and pest control issues before a tenant occupies a house.
Regardless of whose responsibilities pest extermination is, finding a remedy when the need arises is essential.
When Should Landlords be Responsible for Pest Control?
The question is my landlord responsible for pest control is quite common amongst prospective tenants. And it is always beneficial to clarify this before moving into the new house.
Any house tenancy agreement should factor in this issue to ensure the place is livable. Ideally, it is a landlord’s responsibility to eliminate any pests before a tenant occupies the house.
The landlord is, in most cases, responsible for pest extermination. This responsibility requires actions like pesticide application, which is a standard requirement.
So, when do landlords have to pay for pest control?
- Before a new tenant occupies the house, the homeowner should thoroughly check the house and request extermination services before setting it up for occupation.
- They notice cracks, spaces, leaks, holes, and openings in the walls, windows, or doors because they create room for pests like rats, termites, and ants to access and create habitation in the house. Any occupant should alert the property owner of these openings. The landlord should take it from there to exterminate and seal the loopholes.
- During routine maintenance –landlords should always provide routine maintenance services. Most property owners carry out seasonal pest control services annually or after six months.
- During emergencies like when snakes, bees, and wasps attack. At this point, you shouldn’t be asking are landlords responsible for exterminators but try to find a quick solution to remedy the problem. It would be best to inform the property owner when you notice hazardous pest invasion, and they should pay for the services.
- Pests that result from natural factors are a tenant’s liability. For instance, if the property is susceptible to pest infestation like grassy fields, the landlord is responsible for solving a tenant’s complaint on pest infestation.
As you can tell, the landlord responsible for pest control saves time and any confusion resulting from such invasions. A landlord also must maintain the property with regular pest control services.
Any property owner should:
- Thoroughly inspect their property before letting it out to tenants.
- Repair any cracks in walls, seal holes and openings, and close any point that could let pests in the house.
- Carry out regular pest extermination services whether tenants report pest infestation or not. Yearly inspections are necessary, especially if your property is in areas prone to pest infestation. You can conduct this with the help of an exterminator or a specialist to completely destroy pest breeding grounds.
- Act promptly when a tenant reports invasion of pests.
When Are Tenants Responsible for Pest Control?
Some scenarios call for a tenant’s responsibility in getting rid of pests. Some pests only occur as a result of negligence from the house occupant.
For instance, cockroaches and ants are a result of poor hygiene. Tenants who don’t regularly dispose of their garbage or keep food uncovered for extended periods create a breeding hub for pests.
Also, dumpy bathrooms, excess moisture, and leaks might be a reason pests invade your home. Fleas’ infestation could be resulting from a poorly maintained pet. In this case, the tenant is responsible for the pest control services.
But before requesting extermination services, you should notify the property owner before taking any measure. This is because some property owners might have specific pest extermination services for their properties. Note that you will still foot the bill if you are liable.
Tenants are only responsible for pest control services when:
- Infestation results from poor hygiene or sanitation –failure to empty the garbage bin regularly, poor waste disposal, and not covering food in the pantry for several days attract pests.
- If you are dealing with pests resulting from pets kept by the tenant, such as fleas
- Excess moisture resulting from the tenant’s negligence, such as not draining water properly
- Damages like holes caused by the occupant could create room for pest infestation.
In the above cases, the question is landlord responsible for pest control should not cross your mind because it is an occupant’s obligation. Any tenant should notify the landlord of any pests immediately. Otherwise, you will partly contribute to the services or, in some cases, foot the entire bill.
A tenant should:
- Notify the landlord as soon as you spot any pests
- Act soonest possible if the property owner delays in solving the issue. This might be crucial when facing pests like snakes since they are poisonous and threaten the harmonious living.
- Refer to the house-renting agreement and see what you can do. In some cases, you can withhold rent until the situation is solved.
- You can DIY or hire a specialist to get rid of the pests.
- If there is no change or response from the landlord, it would be best to vacate the house and relocate.
Bedbugs: exterminator landlord responsibility or tenants?
Bedbugs are a nightmare that requires special attention since both parties can be liable for their invasion. However, should you notice bedbugs, you should figure out the state of the house before occupation to decide.
If there were no bedbugs before the occupation, then the tenant is responsible for extermination services. The assumption is that the occupant might have come with the bedbugs from their previous home. But if a history of bedbugs exists, then it is the landlord’s responsibility.
So, the question is landlord or tenant is responsible for pest control depends on the circumstances. However, you can always stick to one principle –the landlord to take responsibility if pests have been there before occupation but the tenant if it happens during the stay-in period.
Regardless of the scenario, rental property and pest control should be discussed before entering into a tenancy agreement. You can always discuss how to handle such issues in the event they arise. This is because some rental laws can be used against the landlord or the tenant when pests invade your property. In worst-case scenarios, you could be prosecuted for negligence or violating the tenancy agreement.
Dealing with pests in rental property can be challenging since it is a liability no one wants to take responsibility for. This reason makes it mandatory to discuss such issues beforehand and when signing a tenancy agreement. This way, you are in a better position to handle renting and pest control issues.