Is the landlord or tenant responsible for mice, bed bug, termite or roach extermination in an apartment?
Oftentimes, disagreements ensue regarding the pest control responsibilities of landlords or tenants. A lot of people want to know who takes responsibility for pest problems or infestation in a rented property; the tenant or the landlord?
Who is responsible for pest control in a rental property?
This is the big question. One school of thought thinks it is the responsibility of the landlord. Another believes pest control should be the responsibility of the tenant. Well, we seek to weigh in on this debate.
We seek to wade into the controversy by providing the most objective answers.
Do landlords have to pay for pest control? Let’s find out.
Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control?
Why should there be controversies regarding pest control between tenants and landlords? This is understandable because the cost of pest control services can be expensive at times, especially when there is an infestation.
Constant surveillance, as well as scheduled visits, are vital. These are post extermination services that serve as effective preventive measures.
However, the cost implication for such services can be considerably high. Hence, no tenant will like to bear the financial burden. If the landlord is also not ready to foot the bills, conflict may result.
State Pest Control Apartment Laws to the Rescue
Before state laws were enacted, the issue of who to take responsibility for pests was an issue. However, such laws laid the problem to rest.
Today, most state laws assign that responsibility to landlords. It requires that they provide suitable rental property. Such should have adequate protection against pests. This is necessary because pests gain access to such properties easily! This is more so if protective steps such as window and door screens are absent.
These are preventive measures that are very effective in warding off the pest.
However, in a situation where there is an actual infestation of a property, urgent treatment measures need to be implemented. Although DIY (Do-It-Yourself) methods may be considered, they are not quite effective. This is more evident with a recurring infestation.
Such methods are more effective in the prevention of infestation, rather than extermination.
In cases of infestation, the services of pest control companies are required. This is because they carry out professional pest extermination services. This is achieved using the most effective treatment methods. As a result, pests are constantly kept in check. Besides, their services include scheduled visits. This is necessary to discourage re-infestation.
The services of pest management companies come with guarantees. Through such, clients are reassured and of a good job.
Should the Landlord Pay for Pest Extermination?
Landlords have to ensure properties are free of pests. This is before the house is leased/rented out. The conditions of the property, as well as the surroundings of the property, need to be taken care of. Without adequately doing so, there are bound to be cases of infestation of such property.
Due to maintenance requirements by States, landlords are required to ensure the functionality of the property. This is done by arranging for seasonal maintenance. Such will ensure pests are kept at bay.
Is the Tenant Responsible for Pest Control?
Landlords aren’t always obligated to cover the cost of pest control. There are times where negligence on the part of the tenant may lead to cases of pest infestation. These may arise due to garbage kept for too long in the house. This is a recipe for pest infestation. Under such circumstances, the pest control technician visits for inspection.
An inspection will determine who’s negligence it was. If the tenant is found to have been responsible, he/she is made to foot the bills of treatment.
In some situations, landlords will include the pest control cost in the lease. This is with the knowledge of the tenant through a lease agreement signed by both parties. As a result, ensures that there are no conflicts regarding rental property pest control responsibility.
In this case, the tenant does not have to worry about pest control prices as it is already included in the lease payment.
Pest Control Responsibilities for Both Landlords and Tenants
Landlord and tenants all have responsibilities. This is for the maintenance of the rented property. It’s necessary to state that pests prevention is the focus here.
Therefore landlords should be responsible. Their role here involves fumigation before the house is put on rent. This ensures that the new tenant does not move into an infested house.
Also, landlords include the constant upkeep of the property by a competent pest control company.
On the other hand, tenants should be responsible for examining existing contracts. In other words, the condition of a house should be evaluated before committing to it. This will save them from unpleasant situations which may result should they discover they moved into a pest-infested house.
What other responsibilities are there? They include the maintenance of good hygiene by disposing of garbage. General hygiene should also be maintained.
Structural damages must be reported immediately for immediate fixing. This helps prevent pests from gaining entry into the house.
Tenant-to-Tenant Pest Relationship
Enough said on the responsibilities of both landlords and tenants as regards footing pest control expenses. Here, we will focus on an equally important area; tenant-to-tenant relationship. As a new tenant, there are several things you should be interested in. This also applies to the tenant moving out. Whichever category you fall into, we’ve got you covered.
But before going any further, you should know that disputes are common among tenants regarding pest control. The nature of such disputes will differ but are generally centered around who takes what responsibility. In some cases, the landlord may end up being dragged into such disputes.
Why Tenants Should Take Responsibility
Pests have no boundaries whatsoever when invading a property. Housing units normally have multiple tenants renting such property. In such a case, keeping one’s surroundings clean can be the difference between creating an attraction for pests or not.
But what if your neighbor is indifferent about taking responsibility? This is where the problem lies. Pests are likely to creep into your home from the next unit. Hence the need for understanding among tenants. Having such an understanding helps in no small measure in taking holistic action on pests.
In other words, pests issues are handled collectively. Extermination is done on a general basis. Such a tenant-to-tenant relationship is very important in handling all pest issues.
Before you Move Into Your New Home
Before you decide to sign a lease agreement, there are salient points to consider. This is because you may end up moving into an infested property without them. Also, not having a clear definition of landlord-tenant pest control responsibilities may lead to future problems.
More so, moving into a pest-infested property has several risks. Hence the need for a thorough inspection or else you may end up contaminating your belongings. The most common suspects would include roaches, rodents, fleas, bed bugs, molds, and termites.
If you prefer doing the inspections yourself, certain tips will be helpful. These are tell-tale signs of pest presence depending on what you are looking at. So, let’s consider each of these briefly.
You are unlikely to find roaches roaming about during your inspection. This is because these creatures are nocturnal. But you’d find certain signs left from previous activity. If you find pellet-like droppings in the form of coffee grounds, then there may be an existing roach problem.
Rodents are very destructive. This is irrespective of whether its a mouse or rat. The most common signs involved include rat droppings as well as gnaw marks on the wood.
Flea presence is likely when prior tenants kept pets. An easy way to find out is to look around for flea dirt. But how does this look? Like coarse pepper. This turns brownish-red upon contact with water. An additional way is to wear long white socks. Walking around in these will show you if there are any around. If there are, you’d find dark specks on the socks.
You’d have to be careful when inspecting for bed bugs. This is because such pests may end up hitching a ride by clinging onto your clothing. You should look for dark mounds around hard surfaces. Such may represent bed bug feces. You should be careful to check for open cracks if there are any. Live bed bugs may just be waiting for new occupants.
Molds aren’t always classified as a pest, yet these can pose a danger. The presence of molds reveals that there’s moisture. And such may come from leaking pipes among other things. Moisture, in turn, creates a perfect condition for other pests like roaches, etc. Spot these and you’d have saved yourself the stress of having to deal with resulting problems.
Termites are considered as one of the most difficult pest problems to deal with. This is because they are highly destructive. Most termite problems are collectively handled by both landlords and tenants. A look within and around the property may reveal mud tubing around the walls or on the ground. These are used as passageways and as protection from moisture loss by termites.
Otherwise, termites are mostly difficult to detect, until the problem becomes full-blown.
Calling a Pest Control Company for Inspection
You may not have the expertise to identify pest presence. However, pest control technicians do. You can call any of these for a thorough inspection of the property. Here, your landlord will bear the costs involved. This is the best and easiest step to take. Especially for persons with limited knowledge of pest behaviors.
Properties are usually cleaned before new tenants move in. Nevertheless, such cleaning may not be thorough enough for you. As such, additional cleaning will be necessary. By so doing, you’d have succeeded in limiting the pest invasion. This also allows you to spot tell-tale signs easily.
Before Moving Out
At the expiration of a lease agreement, you are left with the option of renewal or moving out. In the case of the latter, there are certain things you must know. This includes ensuring there are no misunderstandings. But this brings us back to the lease agreement you entered in the first place. Such shouldn’t be hurriedly signed without properly understanding your roles and those of the landlord regarding pest control.
This too should be properly understood by both parties (landlords and tenants). There should be no gray areas on the cost-sharing formula. This is an area that shouldn’t be left to chance.
Different Types of Pest Problems and Responsibilities
Generally, common pest problems are borne by tenants. But such isn’t the case all the time as there are sharing costs as earlier mentioned. As a new tenant, pest inspections and removal before entry are borne by the landlord. This is irrespective of the type of pest(s) involved.
On the other hand, handling existing pest issues (as an old tenant) will depend on the lease agreement. But landlords are generally responsible for termite issues.
Reporting Landlord or Tenant
Parties involved in lease agreements don’t always stick to their obligations. As a result, such relationships prove difficult. Although such may be the case, there are ways to address them. The aggrieved party may decide to seek redress. But who is the aggrieved party? It depends on what lease agreements are violated.
Local health departments have provisions for laying complaints. You can decide as the tenant to break the lease. But first, you may need to talk to an attorney. The same applies to the landlord as an attorney will help you find if it’s in your best interest to file a lawsuit.
To file a complaint to your local health department as a tenant, certain information will be vital. These will include your names, property address, the names of your property management company or landlord and the nature of the complaint. Others include the time and duration of the problem, its frequency, proof of complaints to the landlord as well as response(s) received.
Have we addressed your major worries? We hope we have. This should give you a better idea of responsibility relating to pests.
Are landlords responsible for pest control? We have attempted to give the best answers possible. This helps cut down on valuable time spent in conflicts. It also reduces such conflicts to the barest minimum. This is because both parties can learn about their roles.
Also, consider checking state requirements. These are necessary and unambiguous. They help you in resolving such issues amicably. Also, it helps you save big. Especially if you had previously borne entire treatment costs.