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Who Is Responsible For Pest Control – Landlords Or Tenants?

Landlord And Tenant Pest Control

Pest infestations can be troublesome for landlords and tenants alike. 

Managing a house with insect, rodent or reptile infestation is a time-consuming business and can cost a lot of money. It is during such times that tenants wish they could have maintained a more cordial relationship with the property owners. 

This is because, more often than not, the tenants and landowners will disagree over who should pay for the pest control services. Understandingly, neither party would want to take responsibility and bear the expense if they can avoid it.

And the absence of clear laws and legislation for this problem only makes matters worse. So, we have compiled a simple guide that will help you understand more about who should be held responsible for removing pests

Common Pest Issues

Any insect, animal infestation or outbreak requires immediate attention and hiring pest control services. Here are a few animals and insects that are commonly found to infest residential properties-

Removing unwanted animals and insects can take several forms. It is most common to use sprays and repellents for insects or smaller creatures and traps for larger animals. 

However, the best scenario is one where pest removal is not required in the first place. This is why taking preventive measures is recommended to avoid having to deal with the hassle of removing pests. 

Both the tenant and landlords can set a meeting to decide on prevention methods so as to stay clear of infestation issues.

Pest Control Specialist In Rental Property

Who Is Responsible For Pest Control – Landlords Or Tenants?

In many Australian states, the legislation regarding who should cover the cost of pest control is unclear. Plus, the statements can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is reading them. 

For instance, the general rule is that a tenant is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the house. Yet, it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep the house safe so that it is fit for a tenant’s residence. 

Since an infestation can appear at any time, it is not always clear who is to bear the cost of pest control. Local councils have different rules depending on where you stay. And, many of them require mandatory pest control by the property owner, even if there are no incidences of pest infestations. 

Check The Lease Agreement

If you are confused about who should be tasked with the responsibility of clearing the pests, look into the lease agreement for more information. If there is a clear mention of who needs to take action against pests, then there is no choice but to follow the agreement. 

Take A Look At The Residential Tenancy Act

In the case that your lease agreement has no mention of pest control for either party, check the Residential Tenancy Act for your state. On that note, let’s take a look at the Residential Tenancies Authority in Queensland

The Act states that the tenant must ensure the property is maintained in the same condition as before the start of the tenancy. 

So, if the pest infestation appears after the tenant has started living on the property, it is wholly their responsibility to get rid of the pests. And while the property owner does not need to take any action, they cannot expect the tenant to leave the property in a better condition. 

For example, if the property was already infested and needed pest control before the tenancy period, the landowner needs to take responsibility for the same. Landlords also cannot expect the tenant to use specific pest control services or products, nor can they demand a fee for conducting pest control. 

Usually, if the pests appear after the tenant lives on the property, it becomes their responsibility to handle the problem. However, there may be some cases where the landowner can take charge.

What Are The Landlord’s Responsibilities?

As a property owner, the landlord will always need to be involved in the upkeep of the place, and this includes pest control. But, the property owner will not be requested to bear the pest control fees if the infestation is a direct result of tenant negligence.

If the tenant does not maintain clean habits such as removing the garbage or leaving food uncovered, the landlord is exempt from covering the cost. 

What Are The Tenant’s Responsibilities?

As a general rule, it is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that an infestation does not occur on their watch. This includes the responsibility to regularly clean the property so that unnecessary pest infestation does not occur while they live there. 

A few basic actions like storing food safely, using sprays, insect and mouse traps to keep pests at bay are recommended. If there is a property condition report, it’s essential that the tenant makes a note of maintenance or pest issues so as to keep a clear record.

If you are a tenant, it is your responsibility to make sure that the property is in similar condition compared to when it was acquired

How To Deal With A Pest Problem As A Tenant?

Sometimes, there is no clarity on who needs to take the responsibility of removing the pests, and it can easily turn into a blame game. The tenant can argue that the owner of the property is solely responsible for any damage that comes to it. On the other hand, the landlord can claim the pests appeared due to negligence by the tenant. 

If you find yourself in the middle of an infestation at the property, here are a few things that can be done as a tenant.

Pest Control Services Keys And Lease Agreement

1. Tell Your Landlord About Pest Infestation Early

The first step you should take the moment you find an indication of an infestation is to inform the landlord without delay. Call the landowner or set a meeting to inform the occurrence so that the information is relayed before the condition worsens. Also, this sets the scene for a good working relationship and will make a better impact in case of future disputes. 

If you have been communicating through emails or messages, it is best to save them for future use. Alternatively, if you have been communicating verbally, make sure to send an email stating the conversation details, with the date and time mentioned clearly.

2. Photograph The Problem

It is best to take photographs of evidence to back your claims. If there are areas in the house that have been damaged due to pests, photographing them helps keep a record of the situation at hand. 

3. Ask Government Authorities For Further Instructions

There are tenancy tribunals in all states, and you can always ask them for guidance if you are not sure how to proceed. The government authorities can help you with information on the state rules and guidelines for pest control. Thus, you can get a better understanding of who needs to take responsibility for the cost of removing the pests from the property. 

Knowing Your Responsibilities

The best situation is when the tenants and landlords come together to tackle the situation and remove the pests before they overpopulate. If the infestation has already taken roots in the property, quick action is of utmost importance.

Failing to do so will result in problems for both tenants and owners. Tenants will have to deal with hygiene issues, while landowners can face property damage by insects or rodents that eat up furniture. All in all, the issue can be solved if the property owner is informed and agrees to take equal measures and steps to remove the problem.

Additionally, landlords and tenants can take proactive steps and precautions to prevent the occurrence of pests in the first place.

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