Multiple arguments manifest between tenants and landlords. Usually, these are matters of responsibility for things like repairs, landscaping, and other issues.
The matter of pest control is another major issue that doesn’t get much publicity. However, this is a pretty big issue, especially when you consider the damage certain pests can do to the renter and homeowner’s property.
If you’ve ever been involved in a rental situation where the pests just won’t go away, you understand how frustrating this can be. Whether it’s mice, ants, wasps, maggots, rats, or any other creature − it is vital that you understand your rights and what you’re financially responsible for.
This article covers all of the relevant information regarding the responsibility for pest control among owners and renters.
When it comes to unwanted guests in the property you’re renting, many species can be dangerous to your health. At the minimum, they’re damaging to your property.
Landlords must be responsible to remedy the problem, ensuring it’s fully handled for the sake of the tenant. Any landlord should already be prepared to receive some type of bill, regardless of what that bill entails.
After the problem is rectified, individuals can move forward in deciding who is actually responsible for the infestation.
If you can’t get in touch with the landlord first, don’t hesitate to contact a pest control company. Make sure this appointment is documented as far as the date, the specific problem, and any notes from the exterminator.
It’s critical that you have this evidence proving that you took steps to fix the problem. Any landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property they rent is safe for occupation.
Even if landlords find out later that the pest problem was directly related to the tenant, it’s still the landlord’s responsibility to handle it from the start.
Different Legal Advice
In the section ahead, some of the most commonly asked questions are outlined with the most efficient answers.
How Does the Lease Play Into Pest Control?
Landlords are always responsible for the initial removal of any pests. However, certain situations transpire where the tenant has habits and behaviors that lead the infestation. If this is the case, the tenant will be held financially responsible for the removal of any pests or insects.
How Should Pest Control Be Worded?
The lease must state that the landlord is providing the property in livable condition and that they are responsible for pest control. It’s worth mentioning that any tenant behavior leading to infestation is the responsibility of the tenant.
Note History of Pest Challenges
Document any history of pest control issues with the property. If the tenant is making an environment that attracts pests, the landlord should note this as well. This includes writing it down and taking pictures.
Does the Type of Pest Matter?
The type of infestation is what is examined initially. If it’s a species that’s common to the building and normally exists there seasonally, it’s the landlord’s responsibility. This includes bed bugs and other species.
Warranty of Habitability
Termites can damage the structure of a home, and landlords are obligated to carry a warranty of these bugs residing in the area. Termites are a matter of safety, and it’s the landlord’s job to take care of these matters.
Can a Tenant Hold Back Rent Until the Issue Is Handled?
The answer to this depends. If the tenant has already provided notice to the landlord about the existence of the infestation and the situation isn’t handled, the tenant can most likely withhold rent. However, the law varies depending on the state, and it’s important to be familiar with the legislation in your area.
Who Is Truly Responsible?
The landlord is normally always considered the responsible party for any normal pest control around the home. This means making sure the property is protected from common pests as well as pests that don’t occur regularly.
Landlords must always do their part to prevent any structures or properties from having any pests at all. Contacting an exterminator or any form of pest control company whenever you’re alerted to the problem covers your bases.
Sometimes landlords try to prove that the tenant is responsible. However, the infestation should be handled first, then the parties can move on to who is at fault.
Think of it like this: If the property was vacant, you would still clear the bugs out of it. Take care of your property first and cover your bases regarding the law − then go after the tenants.
When a Tenant Reports Pests
Use these steps when a tenant reports pests.
- Check the lease agreement for any pest control clauses surrounding pest control. This is a good way to help determine who is responsible.
- Make sure your property is protected. The first thing you need to do is protect the integrity of your property. Make sure you order thorough extermination and subsequent prevention treatment.
- Document everything you do to the property regarding extermination and prevention treatment. Additionally, document any conversations or letters exchanged with tenants.
- Take pictures of the property or any areas of damage.
When Does the Tenant Pay?
The tenant will pay in situations where it is proven they directly caused the infestation. This type of ruling requires detailed photographs showing that tenants had the property kept in a condition that was conducive to attracting rodents or bugs.
Most commonly proven are roaches and rats or mice. Large areas of food constantly left out on counters, garbage on the floors, and any other litter that’s not in bags could be grounds for tenant payment.
Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, it’s important to first contact an exterminator and get the critters out of the area first. Number one, landlords don’t want further damage done to their property, and tenants shouldn’t want any damage to their items.
Make sure everything is documented, just in case the matter ends up going to court. In a courtroom situation, the individual who emerges victorious usually has the most proof − including photos, detailed accounts, and other items, including receipts and invoices.
Normally, it’s definitely a matter for the landlord. You can help ensure this if you’re a tenant by keeping the home clean at all times to avoid attracting unwanted visitors! Call or email FindaPestPro to receive a quote today!
Click here to read our past blog, The 10 Florida Bugs You Don’t Want to Encounter