Pests in Rental Property, Who is Responsible?
Discovering pests of any kind within your rental property is undoubtedly an unwelcome occurrence. Upon encountering a pest in your living space, it’s natural to want to address the issue promptly. However, you might be uncertain about the appropriate course of action. Are you responsible for maintaining a pest-free environment, or is this the duty of your landlord?
It is crucial to grasp the respective roles you and your landlord play in pest control. Gaining insight into the legal obligations that both parties have when dealing with unexpected pests will empower you as a well-informed tenant.
Common Pest Issues in Rental Property
Before tackling pest issues, you must first identify the types of pests invading your space. Common household pests in the United States include cockroaches, bed bugs, rodents, spiders, termites, silverfish, ants, fleas, ticks, and flies. Bed bugs can be especially challenging to eliminate as they start in bedding and furniture before spreading to other hiding spots like drapes, outlets, walls, and furniture crevices.
To address the problem effectively, you need to determine how these pests are entering your property. Various entry points within your home and around it can serve as access for insects and rodents. These entry points include foundation cracks, siding, the roof, chimney, doorways, utility lines, vents, the garage, and neighboring homes. Additionally, pests like lice, ticks, and bedbugs can hitch a ride on your body or clothing, entering your home when you return.
Landlord’s Responsibilities for Pest Issues
In many states, landlords are legally required to ensure their rental properties are free of pests. This means they must have the property inspected for pests and hire professionals to remove any existing infestations before new tenants move in.
Landlords are also responsible for fixing any structural issues in the property, such as cracks, openings in doors or windows, or torn screens, before renting it out.
Whether your landlord provides regular pest control services usually depends on the terms of your lease agreement. Your lease should specify what steps have been taken to keep the property pest-free.
However, if a pest problem makes your home unlivable, your landlord must promptly address it and cover the costs of hiring a pest control company. This responsibility is known as an implied warranty of habitability.
Tenant’s Responsibilities for Pest Issues
Before renting a property, inspect it for signs of pests. Review your rental contract and ask your landlord about their pest control policy if it’s not mentioned in the agreement.
Once you’ve moved in, promptly inform your landlord of any structural damage or signs of pests to prevent the issue from worsening and causing more problems in the future.
As a tenant, you’re responsible for maintaining a clean, sanitary home to prevent pests. Seal food containers, keep garbage bins covered, dispose of trash properly, and prevent standing water around your property to create a pest-free environment.
Your landlord is not obligated to address pest problems caused by your actions, such as if your pet brings in fleas and ticks from outside due to your negligence in treating them. In such cases, you’ll likely be responsible for resolving the pest issue at your own expense.
Laws can change, so stay updated with local and state resources for guidance on pest control responsibilities.
Keep in touch with your landlord to address pest issues promptly. Effective pest control in your rental property happens when both sides fulfill their responsibilities. Working together for a pest-free environment benefits everyone.
Filed under: Landlord Responsibilities