If you live or own a rented property then you’ll want to know who is responsible for different issues, such as maintenance and pest control. It’s much easier to define this in the agreement before the tenancy starts as this ensures everyone knows where they stand.
In general, it is the landlord that is responsible for the pest con troll. This is because it is their property and they benefit from it being looked after. A landlord should speak to the local exterminators to have an annual inspection. This confirms whether there is currently any pest-related issue and, if so, allows them to plan the relevant treatment option. Of course, the landlord can undertake pest control themselves. However, this makes it more difficult to resolve issues if pests do appear at any stage.
Landlords are obligated to maintain the property in a habitable condition. This means ensuring you have heating, hot water, the electrics are safe, and the house is structurally sound. As part of this obligation it is generally agreed, although unwritten, that pest control is completed. After all, a dozen rodents running around the property will classify the house as uninhabitable. The landlord will need to advise a tenant regarding when the annual inspection will take place and when any treatment is due to happen, if necessary.
The Tenant’s Responsibilities
While the landlord is responsible for the overall care and maintenance of the house, the tenant also has responsibilities. The main responsibility of any tenant is to look after the house. It’s more than just taking care of it to ensure you get a deposit back. Looking after the house means that you can demand a landlord address issues. However, if the landlord arrives for a scheduled inspection and the house is full of clutter, dirty dishes, and generally looks a mess, they can decline to undertake pest control, amongst other things. This is because you are effectively inviting pests to live in the house by not keeping it clean and tidy. In short, it’s not fair to ask a landlord to resolve an issue that you have created. Of course, looking after the property also makes it easier to build a relationship with the landlord and will help to ensure you can live in the property for as long as you want to.
In most cases, the pests found in a rental property are local to the area. However, if pests from different areas start to appear there will need to be further research. In this situation, the landlord is entitled to ask how the pests have got there and can, if appropriate, decline to deal with the pests. It would need to be clear the pests have arrived as a direct result of the tenant’s actions. This can be difficult to prove. The bottom line is that the landlord should be responsible for pest control. But, the tenant has a duty to look after the property and alert the landlord regarding any issues.