Landlords & Tenants
Who is ultimately responsible for dealing with a pest infestation at a rental property?
(or to put it plainly – who’s got to pay!?)
It is not always straightforward working out who is responsible. Once the cause of the issue has been established then any culpability may be assigned. A good pest controller should be able to identify the cause of an infestation, which may then indicate who is responsible.
You will probably be responsible for dealing with an infestation if:
- You are providing furnished rented accommodation and the pest problem existed prior to the tenants moving in.
- The tenancy agreement says you’re responsible – and/or it says you will keep the property in a “good and habitable state” or similar statement.
- An infestation was caused by you failing to keep up routine maintenance at the house – for example, not actioning repair works as required.
You may be responsible for dealing with an infestation if:
You are keeping your rental property in an unsanitary condition which is allowing pests to flourish, for example, leaving food waste or litter around.
You have caused wilful or accidental damage to the fabric of your home allowing pests access to the property.
If the pets or animals you keep have caused the issue i.e. cats and fleas. In this case it will be your responsibility to deal with the pests.
Ultimately the landlord is responsible for dealing with an infestation if it means the tenants home isn’t safe for them to live in i.e. if there is the potential an infestation will have an effect on physical or mental health.
Local Authority Tenants
The local authority has legal powers to help with an infestation in your home. For example, where an infestation has the potential to be harmful to your health or is a nuisance, then it may be classed as a statutory nuisance. If the issue’s deemed a statutory nuisance, the local authority may be able to force a landlord to resolve the issue.
Generally speaking, local authority tenants should contact their landlord to report a pest problem and the local authority may offer their own pest control service.
However, please be aware that councils are cutting back on their pest control services and you may find the service is either not available or the waiting times are weeks rather than days. In addition, the Council has no statutory obligation to provide pest control treatments to tenants of private landlords, Housing Associations and RSLs regardless of whether they receive Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefits.
If you are unsure whose responsibility a pest issue is please pick up the phone and give us a call.
We’ll help you identify the pest, the cause, the implications and the responsibility.
We understand the needs of both LANDLORDS and TENANTS and we’ll work hard to gain the resolution you require.