What If My Landlord Doesn’t Pay for Pest Control?

Disclaimer– landlord-tenant laws vary greatly by jurisdiction. Everything about to be discussed is meant to be an informative guide and not a substitution for legal advice. Also, the assumption to be made is that this is for private residential leasing, not commercial or government leasing.

Health Warning

Many types of infestations can lead to illness. Health can be permanently worsened if certain conditions are allowed to persist. Do not jeopardize your health for the sake of making someone else pay for something that you can cover, now, but litigate, later.

Generally, landlords are liable for maintaining control of pests/infestations. However, there are instances where a tenant’s lifestyle and behaviors lead to an infestation. If a landlord can prove that a tenant’s own pet mice escaped their cages, the landlord may not only be free of responsibility for the removal of the pests, but the tenant may be required to pay for it as it was directly their responsibility. Going forward, it is assumed that the tenant has no contribution towards the infestation.

If the infestation is due to natural circumstances, the landlord is usually responsible for prevention/maintenance of pest control. For instance, if the home is next to a field, the landlord is responsible for keeping mice at bay and removing any that make it into the home. However, landlords do not always cover the costs of every instance of maintenance.

A carefully written lease should cover the general terms of maintenance. In some cases, a landlord may write into the lease that all prevention, upkeep, and removal of pests is 100 percent the responsibility of the tenant, and unless the tenant can prove an egregious fault of the landlord for the infestation, the tenant will have to adhere to the agreement. Contributory negligence of the tenant, as earlier discussed, can negate landlord responsibility, as well. A tenant with a lot of cats may be fully responsible should the home be infested with fleas. If the lease is silent, the favor usually falls towards the tenant if a court determines the tenant is not at any fault for the infestation.

For information on landlord-tenant rights in a particular area, search for a local Legal Aid Service. Many offer brochures and free online information for landlord duties by county and state, as well as steps to take to enforce them in the event of non-response.

Action Pest and Turf

If your landlord will not provide you with pest control services and would like to set up a maintenance plan. Contact Action Pest and Turf to make an appointment.