Is the Landlord or Tenant Responsible for Pest Control?
The Arizona climate is in a class of its own. Both the summer heat and monsoon rains will drive a variety of insects into your home — scorpions, black widow and brown recluse spiders, a variety of ants, and cockroaches. You can also add bed bugs to the mix of unwelcome pests because Tucson is a major tourist attraction. When these unwelcome pests make their way into rental properties, it can cause conflict between tenants and landlords. Is the landlord or the tenant responsible for pest control? Let's look at the responsibilities of each:
LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PEST CONTROL
The responsibility of a landlord is to provide a livable, safe place for tenants. A pest infestation is one of those things that will jeopardize that condition. So for the most part, landlords are typically responsible for preventing pest problems by controlling them. However, there are some exceptions... In many multi-unit buildings, the rental agreement often specifies that the landlord is responsible for pest control.
Landlords do have certain requirements they need to meet in order to ensure they are upholding their rental agreements with tenants:
- Pest inspection prior to a tenant moving in.
- All cracks must be sealed.
- Contract stating what the landlord will do in the event of a pest infestation.
You can have Conquistador Pest & Termite complete your pre-move inspections, repairs, and monthly treatments. Monthly treatments are recommended because longer intervals can allow many pests to enter the property.
TENANT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PEST CONTROL
If the tenant's living conditions are attracting the pests, the landlord could argue that the financial responsibility of pest control could be passed to the tenant.
Here are a few things that can attract pests:
- Poor housekeeping or lack of cleanliness
- Excess moisture from non-reported leaks
- A flea infestation as a result of a tenant’s pet
In these instances, Conquistador Pest & Termite can help the landlord determine whether or not the tenant’s living conditions are attracting the pests and provide a document history of pest issues.
Note: Leaving a few dishes in the sink, forgetting to sweep one day and having laundry on the floor instead of in the hamper is not unsafe living conditions.
HANDLING A PEST INFESTATION
Handling a pest infestation as a landlord can be challenging and your good reputation depends upon how you handle it. Act immediately and then sort out finances down the road. Landlords need to schedule an appointment for proper documentation. Failure to act on a pest infestation could mean legal trouble, and the tenant might be within their right to withhold rent until the problem is fixed. However, just because a landlord makes all the arrangements doesn’t always mean that they will foot the bill in every case.
A Conquistador Inspection
Generally, the type of infestation is what Conquistador will look at first. If the infestation is due to natural circumstances, the landlord is responsible for taking care of the problem. Here are some examples:
- If the rental property is located near a field and the tenant reports mice, the landlord needs to arrange for and pay for the exterminator.
- Termites can cause structural damage and landlords have an obligation to keep a warranty of habitability making it the landlord’s responsibility to take care of this due to issues of safety in the building.
- Bed bugs are on the rise and legislation depends on state and local laws. If a rental property is bedbug-free at turnover and an infestation occurs, it is most likely the responsibility of the tenant to get rid of them. However, if the rental property has a history of bedbug infestations, it is most likely up to the landlord to take care of it, since the infestation may not have been completely effective.
A PROACTIVE APPROACH WITH CONQUISTADOR
Pest issues are difficult to treat as it involves more than just destroying the pests. It includes clean-up and sanitation. Most landlords decide on a proactive approach to maintenance and prevention and pay for it on their own to save time money, and their reputation. Conquistador Pest & Termite has designed an effective commercial pest control program based on proactively working with property managers before an infestation problem arises. Our program includes:
- Trained experts who are friendly and punctual
- Thorough inspections and documentation
- In-depth consultations
- Quality service
- Environmentally safe and highly effective pest control products
- Commitment to protecting the health and safety of your clients
Need Help? Get a Free Inspection
If you have any uncertainty about landlord / tenant responsibilities or if you notice any abnormal property damage, contact us. After all, termites and small and fast-moving pests and may be hard to verify with the naked eye. Take advantage of our free inspection, and put your concerns to rest.