Steps to ensure a property stays pest free and taking action when not
Whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for pest control can be a grey area, but overall the landlord must take it seriously both in terms of prevention and removal of an infestation.
If nothing else, a severe infestation could cause considerable damage to a property and proving the tenant is responsible and therefore should pay for repairs could prove an uphill battle.
The landlord v tenant pest control dilemma
Landlords responsibilities – they are expected to take the steps necessary to prevent pests appearing.
For example, ensuring vulnerabilities such as holes and cavities are repaired so as to discourage mice and rats and – in the case of furnished properties – furniture such as beds are clean and aren’t harbouring pests such as bed lice.
If there’s an existing pest presence at the beginning of the tenancy such as, say, a wasp nest in the loft then the landlord should have it safely removed by a local professional such as this Southend pest control company.
The premises should be generally clear and tidy so as to prevent pests from being attracted; for example, rodents gravitate towards cluttered areas especially if there’s evidence of food and water.
Tenants responsibilities – if the tenant causes an infestation such as, for example, leaving food debris in easily accessible places and encouraging rodents or other pests then they’re responsible for dealing with it.
Similarly, if a wasp nest were to appear during their tenancy as opposed to being present at the beginning the tenant would be expected to have it safety removed.
In general, if the tenant has caused a pest infestation or is unlucky enough to experience one during their time in the property through no fault of their own such as in the wasp nest example, then they’re responsible.
Overall though, the landlord would have to step in if there was a disagreement over whose responsibility it is to deal with a pest threat.
Some tenants assume that any pest issue is the responsibility of the landlord and, while this isn’t the case, swift removal of certain pests is important to protect the property from damage in some cases.
In these instances the landlord may have to act to protect their investment whereas a tenant can either ‘make do’ if the threat isn’t too unpleasant to live with on a daily basis or simply move out.
So if, for example, a tenant contacted their landlord to say they’d seen a rat in or around the property it’s obviously a pest threat that requires swift action. If the landlord noticed that the property was cluttered and untidy with food debris around, then they might blame the tenant for encouraging the rodent.
The tenant, meanwhile, may dispute this and while an argument rages the infestation could be getting worse. Time is of the essence with pest invasions as many, such as rodents, breed rapidly so a mere presence can soon become an infestation.
This is more concerning for the landlord than the tenant in most cases as damage can result, so the landlord may have to grit their teeth and have the problem remedied even if they blame their tenant.
How a landlord can ensure no pests at outset of a tenancy
Along with using a reputable local pest control service to remove pest threats as discussed above, a landlord can ask them to do a pest prevention check before new tenants move in or the property is let out for the first time.
Vulnerabilities can be identified and remedied, and any evidence of pests can be removed and prevented from recurring.