July 31, 2020

Who Is Responsible for Pest Control: Landlords or Tenants?

Do you have pest issues in your rental property?

Whenever pest infestation occurs, you need to make quick and direct action to solve it. However, sometimes valuable time is lost because tenants and landlords can't agree on who should resolve the problem, warns Five Star Management.

Rental disputes caused by pest control is more common than you think. Most of the time, renters and landlords can’t see the whole picture. And this delays the important pest control measures that should’ve been taken.

In this article, you will learn the key points of pest control in rental units. Moreover, you'll understand how the responsibility of pest control works for both sides in the lease agreement.

When are landlords responsible for pest control?

The basic principle is that landlords need to preserve the habitability of their property. In fact, they are legally required to do so. 

Pest infestation problems are critical situations that affects the renter’s living conditions. This is exactly why in most cases, landlords are responsible for pest control. As the property owner, they need to do everything possible to ensure their property meet the minimum living standards.

Landlords are responsible for pest control when the pest infestation is due to natural circumstances. In other words, the tenants didn't do anything to invite or let the critters inside the house. Since the intrusion happened naturally, the landlord should cover the costs for the pest control.

Below is a list of pests that could naturally invade a rental property:

  • Spiders
  • Termites
  • Rats
  • Wasps
  • Mice
  • Ants

As you can see, this list includes pests that could’ve been prevented in the first place. Some landlords are aware of this and thus, don’t hesitate to pay for pest prevention. They invest  money in pest control to prevent having greater expenses in the future.

When are tenants responsible for pest control?

Although landlords are often  responsible for pest control, tenants aren’t always in the clear. In some cases, it's undoubtedly the tenant’s actions that have caused the infestation.

Common situations where tenants should be responsible for pest control:

Pets: When you have a pet-friendly rental property, it has a higher risk for pests. Cats and dogs pose a major risk since they may carry fleas and other pests inside the living quarters.

Hygiene: Tenants who have poor hygiene are likely to create pest issues. The same goes for tenants who don't keep their living spaces tidy and clean. For instance, cockroaches are common when tenants leave food crumbs and empty food packages lying around the house.

Humidity: It's possible that your tenant raises the moisture levels to excess levels inside the rental unit. As a result, some critters could start appearing in the property because they thrive in a high-moisture environment.

For all these examples, the tenant is financially responsible for pest control. When the actions of the tenant directly contribute to the pest intrusion, it's their obligation to fix the problem.

How to determine responsibility in a difficult case?

Not all situations are black-and-white. Some scenarios have blurred edges so it's exceptionally hard to determine who takes responsibility.

The number one step to prevent conflict is to include a pest control clause in your lease agreement. It's possible to specify in the contract that tenants are fully accountable for pest control. However, it’s important the tenant knows and understands this clause before signing the lease agreement.

Some questions you can ask to determine responsibility: 

  • When exactly did the pests infestation start?
  • Are there aspects in the tenant’s behavior or lifestyle that contributed to the pest problem?
  • Is the rental property currently fit for habitation?
  • What is the main cause of the infestation? What action or inaction led to it?
  • Is the pest intrusion due to natural circumstances or not?

Why do bedbugs form a separate discussion?

Among all the common pests, bedbugs cause the most conflicts between landlords and tenants. Most landlords see bedbugs as pests that are directly a result of the tenant's actions. Landlords believe that the renters are the ones who brought these critters inside the property. 

However, this isn’t always the case. If the rental unit had bedbug problems before, it's highly likely that it wasn’t caused by the tenant. The tenant may just be a victim of ineffective pest control done in the past.

The Bottom Line: Pest Control in Rental Properties

In rental properties, pest control issues can cause conflict between tenants and landlords. Here are the top things you should remember when you encounter disputes:

  • Landlords are responsible for pest control when the problem is caused by natural circumstances.
  • Tenants are accountable for pest control costs when their actions or inaction caused the problem.
  • Pest control responsibilities should be included and clearly defined in the lease agreement to prevent possible conflicts. 

If you have any further questions give us a, we care about your peace and well being here at Falls Pest Services.

Your Pest-free home awaits.
Schedule your service today and start enjoying some peace of mind.
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