Who Is Responsible for Pest Control? Landlords or Tenants?

Written on 1 June 2020 by Giles Cook in Frequently Asked Questions


Who is responsible for pest control in rented property can be a bit of a grey area. There are many reasons and ways pests can enter a property. Sometimes it’s difficult, even impossible, to determine when and how an infestation began.

The tenancy agreement between a landlord and tenant may have a clause that clearly states who is responsible for pest control. If this is the case, then both sides must comply with the document. Usually, it will state the landlord’s duty to keep the property in a habitable state and the tenant’s duty to maintain sanitary conditions. This means that both parties must work together to identify the cause of the infestation and deal with the problem.

What are the most common pests that infect rented property?

The most common pests in rented properties are rats, mice, cockroaches, wasps, ants, fleas, mites and bedbugs.

When is a landlord responsible for pest control?

There are many ways pests and vermin can enter a property. Ultimately a landlord is responsible for making sure a property is well-maintained and habitable.

A landlord is responsible for dealing with pests if:

  • An infestation was caused by a structural issue or flaw with the property, such as a hole in a wall or a gap in the roof.
  • Pests were already present in the property when the tenants moved in
  • There have been problems in the past with pests and measures taken to make the property more invulnerable to pests have proved inadequate
  • It makes clear in the tenancy agreement that the landlord is responsible for ensuring the property is habitable or if it expressly states that the landlord will attend to any issues which may arise concerning pests and vermin.

When it comes to pest control, it is usually best to call in the experts. To find pest control companies in your area, simply Google something like, “pest control services or pest control company [insert county]”.

When is a tenant responsible for pest control?

It is essential that tenants are aware of pests, how they can be attracted to a property, and make sure they don’t do anything which would make the property more vulnerable to pest infestation.
A tenant might be liable to deal with a pest problem if it can be proved that their actions attracted pests to the property, such as if rubbish is left lying outside a property and isn’t put into bins properly.

If pests do enter and occupy a property, the tenant must notify the landlord (in writing) about the problem. It’s also highly recommended to support the notification with evidence such as photos or video footage of the pest.

What if it’s not clear who is responsible for the pest infestation?

If it is not clear who is responsible, an Environmental Health Officer should be able to identify how the pests managed to enter the property and what caused the issue.

Once responsibility has been established (and it is usually the landlord), the landlord must respond promptly and take appropriate steps to deal with the problem.

What happens if a landlord refuses to deal with pests?

If the landlord does not fulfil his or her duties, the tenant can apply to the local council who can take enforcement action against the landlord. UK Councils can serve an enforcement notice on landlords who refuse to take care of pest infestations on their property. If the Council has to arrange pest control services, the landlord will be legally liable to pay all costs, the landlord has to pay any administration costs as well.

What are a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to pest control?

Always make sure any properties you let are pest-proofed and fully habitable for tenants. Also, make it clear in the tenancy agreement who is responsible for dealing with such issues, should they arise.
Pests and vermin can constitute a health hazard, and they can cause damage to a property, so it is in the interests of both tenant and landlord that any pest control problems are dealt with promptly and adequately.

 

Do you need advice and help with letting out your property in Belgravia, Chelsea, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Westminster, Victoria or Pimlico? Contact our team today.

Giles Cook

Giles recently joined Best Gapp in 2017 as Partner Designate and Head of Residential Agency, bringing over 20 years’ experience to the firm. Following a three-year stint as an Area Director for Foxtons, he went on to head up Chestertons’ sales and lettings operations in central London, before becoming a Partner at top Knightsbridge boutique WA Ellis.

All articles by Giles Cook

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