Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control?
If you are a tenant and you are experiencing a pest infestation you will no doubt be asking, is pest control a landlord responsibility? It is a complex question as a pest infestation can break out at any time and through no fault of your own. Each case can be different and it can depend on the type of pest problem. Different situations can cause the infestation to happen. Is it through no fault of your own that pests occurred or is it your actions that caused the problem?
When Is a Landlord Responsible for Pest Control?
Landlords are responsible to ensure their properties are fit for habitation as an owner. There is legislation and guidance that private landlords must follow. This is to protect against potential risks, hazards to health and safety within the rental property. Pests can be a potential risk and hazardous to health. Landlords should ensure the property has been adequately protected against pests to stop them from getting in. This is known within the pest control industry as proofing. This covers blocking potential routes of entry for pests such as meshing over vent blocks, filling holes in walls. If this has not been done then the landlord has to take responsibility.
Some pest problems occur through unknown issues such as changes in the drain system of a house of multi-occupancy. This is unfortunate and the issue will not be highlighted until a rodent may have taken advantage of the situation. This would not be the tenant’s responsibility to resolve. By keeping a property well maintained by carrying out regular checks, will help to manage potential pest outbreaks. A good example of this would be a leaking pipe causing a silverfish infestation. If a landlord has his property well maintained, the chances of a pest infestation is going to be dramatically reduced. Not only this but outbreaks should be detected during the checks.
When Is a Tenant Responsible for Pest Control?
If the tenant’s actions are responsible for causing a pest infestation then they may be responsible for paying for the treatment? A good example of this could be poor housekeeping, which may be attracting pests to the property? This may be highlighted during the regular maintenance checks. If the landlord has requested you improve housekeeping then it would be difficult to get the landlord to pay for the treatment if you are maintaining the basic cleanliness standards. That said, if the property is well proofed then it will be difficult for the pests to get in to cause a problem.
A common problem area in which tenants are expected to pay for pest control services is pets in the property. If the pet introduces a flea infestation to the property it would be unreasonable to expect the landlord to pay. It is no fault of the landlord that the pet introduced an infestation and, as a pet owner, the tenant would be expected to deal with it. Not only treating the animal but the property as well. As with most things, if it is questionable over who should be paying for the treatment, then communication is key. We would always recommend talking to the property manager or the landlord to discuss the pest issue.
What Pests Are Covered Under the Tenancy Agreement?
There may be clear direction under what circumstances pest control services are paid for in the Tenancy Agreement. We would always recommend you check your agreement to see what is said about pests in your contract. It may save you some time and be clear cut on responsibilities and where responsibility lays. To use wasp nests as an example, it may state the landlord is responsible for the treatment of any wasp nests. It goes without saying a tenant can not be held responsible for the fact that wasps have set up home in a loft. The landlord must however get it removed so the tenant does not get stung.
Read our blog post to discover how to get rid of a wasp nest safely and ways to prevent a colony from moving in.
So, is pest control a landlord responsibility? As mentioned at the start, it is a complex question and not a simple one to answer? The question to ask is who’s to blame that it occurred? You may feel it is not your fault, if so, then further discussion should be made with your managing agent.
If you are experiencing problems with pests and need further legal advice Citizens Advice are able to assist with confidential advice in this area. If you need help in relation to the pest that is causing the problem then Pest-Tech is able to help.