It’s one of the most common disputes between tenants and landlords: who is required to pay for pest control services? In almost every state, pest control obligations are legally ambiguous, and there’s no clear rule on who pays for an exterminator if one is required.
If there’s a clause in your rental agreement or lease about who takes care of pest control, this can shed some light on the issue. Otherwise, it’s one of those befuddling grey areas that can lead to drawn-out rental disputes. But what do we know about pest control and renter responsibility?
When Is a Landlord Responsible For Pest Control?
Landlords are only responsible for pest control in two circumstances: when the pest is already present prior to occupancy, or if structural damage is the cause of a pest outbreak.
Ideally, tenants should check the property for pests or structural damage that may lead to a pest problem before signing a lease. For instance, a hole in the roof where possums and rats can enter is damage that should be documented. Of course, the property owner is required to fix major problems like this, but having photographic proof the damage was already there gives tenants extra security.
Termite problems also fall on the landlord’s shoulders, as this is considered a structural integrity problem. Property owners should bring in a professional for termite inspections and treatments, as DIY solutions aren’t up to scratch for these invasive insects.
State tribunals tend to agree that pest issues reported very soon after tenants move into a property should be the landlord’s responsibility. However, if tenants can prove that the property was not handed to them in a clean state, a tribunal may rule in their favour. In that case, it is the landlord’s responsibility to request and pay for extermination.
However, pest control that can be handled with over-the-counter products – like mouse traps, baits, and sprays – is the responsibility of the tenant. The tenant is also responsible for keeping the property clean and tidy, preventing pests like roaches and ants.
Is It the Landlord’s Responsibility to Get Rid Of Rats and Mice?
Looking at the outcomes of previous disputes, pest control for rats and mice is generally the landlord’s responsibility. However, if the property owner argues that the rats or mice are a result of the tenant’s lack of cleanliness, that’s when the issue becomes subject to debate.
The general expectation for tenants is that they keep the property as clean as the day they moved in. As such, keeping pests at bay through regular cleaning is the responsibility of the tenant. This includes regular sweeping, removing rubbish, and even bathing pets regularly to prevent fleas. Failure to do so can result in tenants paying for pest control out of their own pocket.
Should I Tell My Landlord if I See Cockroaches?
There are two things to ask yourself before you report cockroaches to your landlord: firstly, were they there before you rented the place? Second, is there any mess around that may have caused the cockroaches to pay you a visit?
If you’ve just moved into the property, you may be able to report the issue and have the property owner take care of it. In many cases, the departing tenant should have paid for an end-of-lease pest control treatment. Regardless, it’s a good idea to check for any sign of pests in your pre-rental property inspection.
The landlord is responsible for handing over the property in a clean and safe condition, so if you have proof they’ve failed in that duty, the property owner has to cover cockroach extermination costs. However, this is quite difficult to prove if you don’t have evidence of the rental’s original condition.
Otherwise, the presence of cockroaches in a rental property is the tenant’s responsibility to solve. If your home has gotten a little messy – particularly with food waste or litter lying around – getting on top of a pest problem starts with a simple clean-up. If it’s only a roach or two, you may be able to get rid of them with a retail pest control product.
More extensive infestations may require professional cockroach spraying or fumigation – and if you do need to bring in a pest control expert, it’s a good idea to let your landlord or real estate agent know.
Does the Landlord Pay for Flea Treatment?
Fleas are usually introduced by pets, and tenants are the ones who bring pets into the home. So if you have a cat or dog, paying for flea treatment of your home is always your responsibility.
Usually, it’s a condition that vacating tenants pay for an end-of-lease pest treatment if they have pets at the property.
However, it’s also true that fleas can be carried by pests like rats and mice. So if you don’t have a pet and yet you find fleas in your rental property, it’s a good idea to report it. But remember that the general rule still applies: if you’re not keeping the property clean to prevent pest problems, then you have to pay for the required pest inspection and treatment.
What Are Tenants’ Pest Control Responsibilities?
First of all, tenants are expected to keep their rented property clean and sanitary. Some other pest control tasks tenants must perform include:
- Avoiding ant and cockroach infestations by disposing of food properly
- Clearing cobwebs and getting rid of spiders
- Removing bees and wasps (possibly with professional assistance)
- Relocating larger animals (like snakes or possums) via a wildlife expert
- Using traps, baits or sprays for minor pest problems
- Flea treatment and/or control, if pets reside at the property
When you need pest control services for your rental property, wherever you live in Australia, Jim’s Pest Control has you covered. All pest services come with the famous Jim’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, so whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, we can give you complete confidence when it comes to household pest treatment and prevention.
- Professional pest extermination for pest issues during the tenancy
It may be a condition of the lease that pest control and/or flea fumigation is performed upon vacating the property. Jim’s Pest Control performs end of lease pest control across Australia and provides day-to-day assistance with pest problems of all kinds.
Jim’s Pest Control uses environmentally-friendly pest eradication solutions. All technicians are licensed and local, so when you call Jim’s, you’re supporting a small business owner in your area. For all your pest inspection and extermination needs, contact Jim’s Pest Control.
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