Who Is Responsible For Pest Control:
Landlords or Tenants?
Are you struggling with a pest invasion? The sudden intrusion of the uninvited visitors demands a quick response. Valuable time may be lost when landlords and tenants don’t know who is responsible for dealing with this issue.
Conflicts surrounding pest control are quite common in rental properties, says Paramount Management & Realty. Neither side can seem to agree who should take the responsibility and pay for driving out the pests. In this article, we’ll explore the topic of pest control in rental properties. After reading this piece, you’ll gain a better understanding of the roles of tenants and landlords under different circumstances.
Pest control responsibilities for tenants
Tenants can be responsible for pest control in some situations. When it’s clear that renters are held accountable for the pest invasion, they have to incur all the extermination expenses. Here are the most common scenarios where tenants hold full accountability for pest control:
- Sub-standard hygiene. Pest invasions often result from poor hygiene habits and an overall lack of cleanliness. Cockroaches are especially notorious for a preference towards unclean living spaces.
- Pet problems. Is it a pet-friendly rental property? This type of rental faces a higher chance of a pest problem. Many common household pets raise the risk of encountering pests on the premises. For example, dogs and cats are likely to carry fleas home.
- Excess humidity. Some pests are known to prefer higher than average moisture levels. Should the tenant directly contribute to excess moisture in the property, then any ensuing pest issue is their financial responsibility.
The previous points are examples of possible scenarios. There are many other, and possibly similar, cases that could result in renter’s undeniable accountability as well.
Pest control responsibilities for landlords
Not all pest issues rest on the tenant’s shoulders. All landlords have to keep the rental property habitable for its renters. Most pest infestations affect the living conditions in the rental unit. That’s why, most of the time, landlords are responsible for pest control. They need to take effective measures to restore the rental property’s usual standards of habitability. The most important term here is ‘natural circumstances’. Landlords need to pay for the pest control that is undertaken due to natural circumstances. Whenever the tenant isn’t directly contributing to the pest issue, it’s the landlord’s duty to take care of the problem.
There are many pests that can intrude on the rental property for completely natural reasons. Here are some of the usual suspects:
Some of these common pests respond to prevention. There are landlords who invest in pest prevention methods in order to decrease any later risk of infestations. This approach could even save money in the long run.
Gray areas of pest control responsibilities
As mentioned, pest control issues often raise disputes. One effective approach to prevent conflicts is to include pest control in your rental agreement. Some landlords hold their tenants completely accountable for all pest control related activities. However, the renter should learn about this clause before signing any
papers. Since pests demand an immediate reaction, landlords shouldn’t wait to take care of the problem. Failure to contact an exterminator may be legally seen as a breach of the landlord’s duty to maintain habitability.
Here are some guiding questions that could help you determine the responsibilities:
- What caused the pest invasion in the first place? What kind of dynamic plays the most important role?
- When exactly did the pests enter the rental property?
- Does the tenant’s lifestyle contribute to the pest intrusion?
- Is the rental unit habitable for renters?
The controversial bedbug debate
Bedbugs cause even more disputes than other pests. That’s because landlords tend to instantly view bedbugs as something brought into the premises by tenants themselves. The best practice is to hold tenants accountable if the property didn’t have any bedbugs at turnover. However, it’s the landlord’s responsibility when the rental unit has a recorded history of bedbug problems.
The bottom line: who is responsible for pest control in rental properties?
The need for pest control incites lively discussions between landlords and tenants. In many cases, neither side wants to see themselves financially accountable for driving out these uninvited guests. These are the general principles of dealing with pest control in rental properties:
- Tenants need to pay for pest control when their lifestyle or direct actions contributed to the pest intrusion.
- Landlords hold responsibility for dealing with pest issues due to natural circumstances.
- The lease or rental agreement may have clauses that further shape the responsibilities.
Time is a critical factor in pest control. Even if there are disputes, the best course of action is to seek immediate intervention. Uncontained pest problems may result in adverse health effects and property damage.