Who Is Responsible For Pest Control, Landlords Or Tenants?
August 29, 2022
Especially during the warmer summer months, your home will increasingly come under the threat of invasion by unwanted visitors. Just as humans look forward to summer, insects, reptiles, and other creatures are also very active during this time of the year.
It shouldn’t surprise you to find ants swarming in the bushes, more cockroaches feeding on the trash, or mosquitoes flying around the area. It’s normal to notice these activities near your home if the creatures don’t find their way into your home.
But if you do find pests inside your home, what should you do? This is a reasonably straightforward question if you own and live in the house. But what if the home is a rental property? Whose responsibility is it to get rid of the pests, the landlord or the tenant?
Pest control in a rental property is an excellent source of conflict between landlords and tenants. On the part of tenants, pests put their health at risk and interfere with their comfort. For the property owner, pest invasion predisposes the home to damage.
Although landlords and tenants agree on the dangers pests pose to a rental, they may find it hard to decide how to remove those pests. As a landlord or tenant facing this problem, what are the guidelines for assigning pest control responsibilities in a rental home?
Guidelines For Pest Control In A Rental Property
When pests invade a rental property, three questions must be answered to determine where blame – and therefore responsibility – for the problem should be placed. The three questions are:
- Did the pest issue exist in the home before the start of the tenancy?
- Is there an issue with the property that makes it prone to pest infestations?
- Is there anything the tenant is doing to encourage the problem?
The simplest way to solve pest control controversies in a rental home is to determine the cause of the problem. Once these three questions are answered satisfactorily, it becomes easier to decide the party that should be responsible for pest control.
- If there are pests in the property at the beginning of the tenancy
If problems are present in a rental before the tenant moves into the home, the landlord is responsible for removing those pests. By law, landlords are expected to take necessary steps to make a home livable before they hand it to a tenant.
This is contained in the implied warranty of habitability, an unwritten assurance a landlord gives the tenant before leasing the property to them. The warranty says that the owner has done everything to ensure the home's safety before leasing it.
If the pest infestation issue existed in the home before the tenant's arrival, it shouldn’t be the tenant's responsibility. The tenant can expect the landlord to get rid of the pests, and they have a right to withhold the rent until the problem is solved.
- If pests are in the home because of an existing issue
If there’s an issue with the property that predisposes it to pest infestation, the problem is the landlord’s to fix. For instance, openings may serve as entry points for pests, or the owner’s stored belongings on the property serve as hiding places for pests.
Other scenarios that may cause pest invasion of the property include an outside trash container without a secure lid, inadequate trash removal service, or overgrown bushes close to the home, where rats or cockroaches might hide.
- If the tenant’s actions cause the pests problem
Tenants may draw pests to a rental property through their negligence. A typical case is when tenants fail to keep the property clean, making it attractive to pests. The tenant might forget to cut the grass or leave piles of leftover food overnight in the sink.
Tenants may also fail to dump trash inside the trash container or neglect to cover the trash can. Another way tenants become liable for pest control is when they unintentionally bring pests to the home with their moving boxes or inside a grocery store box.
What To Do If There Are Pests In A Rental Property
As a tenant, the first thing you should do when you find pests in your rented home is to inform the landlord. As a landlord, you are expected to take immediate action to get rid of the pests without first trying to determine who is responsible for the problem.
The pest control expert will remove the pests and, at the same time, determine the cause of the problem. After the pests have been completely exterminated from the home, the issue of financial responsibility for the problem may be sorted out.
Best Local Pest Control For Rental Properties
If you’re looking for pest control for your rental property, Native Pest Management is here to help. With over 3,000 reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List and Nextdoor, we’re a top rated pest control company in Florida.
You can also type in “home pest control near me” on Google to find extensive options. We provide our commercial pest control services in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and now Tallahassee, as well as the surrounding areas.
For more information about our services for rental properties, contact us today!