Pest control, landlords or tenants responsibility?

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Pest control, landlords or tenants responsibility?At NPG, from time to time we get tenants calling about pest control. It can range from mice, to rats, ants, fleas, bed-bugs, cockroaches and even wasps nests. By the way, if you start scratching whilst you are reading this, don’t worry – it happens to me!

There’s a lot of confusion as to who is responsible for removal – the landlord or the tenant?

The principles are relatively simple;

  • A landlord is responsible for the structure of the building, utilities, sanitary provision and any fittings
  • If the pest problem is caused by a defect to the structure, for example, rats entering through outlet holes or broken sewer pipes, this would be the landlords problem to repair
  • This does not include pests which relate to the tenants everyday occupation of the house (for example mice, fleas, cockroaches, wasps etc)
  • The only exception being that a furnished property should be pest free before a tenant moves in

Personally as a matter of good practice I would always make sure that all of our houses are pest free, furnished or not, before a tenant moves in.

However, once a tenant has moved in, if they encounter any pests, it is their responsibility to remove them and cover the costs involved.

There is an excellent blog on the subject HERE.

It’s always best to set out your pest policy in your tenancy agreement, so that the tenant knows the position in advance – this will avoid later disappointment when they call requesting help. It is also worth providing help and advice as to simple, cost effective DIY solutions.

We direct our tenants to our website which includes a guide on how to get rid of all household pests. It will keep your tenants happy and save the landlord money.

You can stop scratching now :)

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Comments

  • A useful summary, thanks, Glenn. Once we had a couple of mice dealt, with we supplied some plug-in devices that are supposed to keep them away. We were pretty sceptical about them but, given how much food debris our student tenants leave around, they seem to have worked for the past couple of years.

    Steve
    http://www.marciaroad.com


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  • hi
    pretty sound article in area of lots of confusion. however, surely all rentals should be pest free at time of letting, not just furnished.


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  • hi
    pretty sound article in area of lots of confusion. however, surely all rentals should be pest free at time of letting, not just furnished.


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  • Vanilene says:

    Hello there, really like this one, hopefully all landlords knew of this. My friend in Singapore had to call professional pest control company to get rid of the pest in their unit good thing she called the right company for it (Major’s Pest).
    Vanilene recently posted…Bed Bugs Singapore Pest ControlMy Profile


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  • Infestation is part of a Housing Health and Safety Rating System Inspection and if an Environmental Health Officers finds pest present he will make a decision about the cause. If he decides that they are tenant cause ie. rodents caused by bad housekeeping he will advice the tenant to deal with them. If he decides that they are not tenant caused – a good example of this would be ants – he will tell the landlord to deal with them and if the landlord fails to do so he will serve a Notice on the landlord.

    Most pests are fairly obvious but there are a couple of grey areas. Bedbugs, which have become very common in the last few years, are one of the most difficult. It is almost impossible to prove that the bedbugs were not present in a property before the tenant moved in because the hide in nooks and crannies until there is a food source – the tenant – and then make themselves known. The tenant will say that he did not bring them in and the landlord will say that they were not there before he moved in BUT how do either party prove it? In the absence of evidence the local authority will make the landlord responsible and may now offer a free service to eradicate bed bugs because they have become such a big problem.

    This in not my opinion by the way it is what is happening for landlords regularly. We are considered responsible until we prove that we are not.

    Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets


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