Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control?
Are landlords responsible for pest control?
The quality of private rented housing has increased dramatically over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days of damp, draughty, mice-infested flats – we can save those for the reruns of The Young Ones. If everything goes to plan, a rented property should be a great place to call home.
But, of course, pests do rear the ugly head from time to time, and they need to be dealt with promptly. But who is responsible for pest control – the landlord or the tenant?
When is a landlord responsible for pest control?
In most cases, the landlord will be legally responsible for dealing with pest control. This is because of something called the ‘warranty of habitability’. Almost every rental contract will include a clause that explicitly states a landlord must keep a property safe and habitable for tenants. As you might imagine, if a tenant is faced with vermin or bugs on a daily basis, their home will soon feel uninhabitable and in contravention of the contract they signed.
When is a tenant responsible for pest control?
However, there is one key exception to this. If it can be proved that the pests are in the property as a result of the tenant’s actions, then responsibility to deal with the infestation will fall on the tenant. Most often this is because properties are kept in unsanitary conditions, for example with food left out in the open. Similarly, if the tenant keeps pets and they bring in fleas, in these cases it will also be the tenant’s responsibility to deal with the pests.
What if it’s not clear who is responsible for the pest infestation?
Sometimes it might be impossible to tell why the pests have arrived, and therefore impossible to apportion blame. In these cases it may legally fall to the tenant to deal with the problem.
However, it’s worth remembering that it’s in the landlord’s interests to maintain a healthy relationship with their tenants. As such, it is generally worthwhile for a landlord to deal with the problem even if they are not legally obliged to do so. Remember that good tenants are a vital asset for any landlord, and anything that can be done to keep them on should be considered.
What are a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to pest control?
If there is a pest infestation in a property, it is the tenant’s responsibility to report it promptly to the landlord. The landlord must then take steps to deal with the problem within a reasonable time – for example, by fixing any holes through which the pests are entering. Landlords are also responsible for making repairs that have been caused by the pests.
What happens if a landlord refuses to deal with pests?
Should a landlord be unresponsive when a tenant reports infestations and pest issues, the tenant may report the landlord to the environmental health department at the local council. In these cases, an inspection of the property will be made.
After the inspection, the council has a number of options for action. In some cases this might be as simple as offering the tenant advice on how to deal with the problem, or informing the landlord that they are aware of the problem but have chosen not to take any further action.
However, in the case of real infestations, there are more dramatic courses of action. They might deal with the infestation themselves, and then order the landlord to pay the costs. Alternatively, they may serve the landlord a notice ordering them to deal with the pests.
As with almost every issue that arises during a private rental agreement, the ideal solution is for landlord and tenant to work together. Pest and infestation problems can be a nightmare for tenants and, if left unchecked, quickly deteriorate the property itself – which no landlord wants.
Thankfully extermination solutions are not prohibitively expensive, especially when weighed against the potential for lost rent or future restorative DIY. It’s in everybody’s best interest to solve pest control problems quickly.
If you are a landlord seeking pest control experts, check out this pest control expert.