In most cases, arranging for the eradication of pests and paying for the treatment us the responsibility of the property owner. However, there are certain circumstances when it becomes the responsibility of a renter. If you are a renter with a pest problem, check to see if the following situations apply to you.
The Renter or Their Pet Brings in Pests
One common reason why a renter would be responsible for paying to have pests removed is if they were responsible for bringing them into the home. For example, if your unit has never had a problem with bed bugs, then it is likely that you brought them in from a hotel or another home. Similarly, if your pet brings in fleas, you will likely be responsible for paying to get rid of them.
It can be difficult to tell if there has been a previous problem with pests in a home and a landlord may claim that an old pest problem is actually a new one. However, an experienced pest control contractor will likely be able to confirm whether the problem was preexisting.
The Pest Problem Is Outdoors
Landlords are responsible for providing a livable unit. However, unless it is in your rental contract, they are not responsible for providing a certain level of quality for your outdoor area. If you have ants, spiders, or rodents in your yard, you will likely have to pay for their removal yourself.
Pests Have Been Attracted to Waste in Your Home
Similar to if you bring pests into the home, if you create a condition that pests are attracted to, you will likely be financially responsive for their removal. For example, if you leave trash out or fail to clean your floors, you may be responsible for the eradication of cockroaches or ants.
The Renter Failed to Report an Issue
Many home repair issues can lead to pest problems if they are not treated on time. For example, a small leak that causes dampness in your home can support the growth of a cockroach colony. If there is a maintenance issue in your home and you fail to notice it or fail to tell your landlord about it, you may be responsible for the pests attracted by the problem.
Similarly, if there is a small pest problem and you fail to tell your landlord about it, you may be responsible for paying for part of the pest control services when the problem becomes worse.
The Renter Contracted a Pest Control Company Without Informing the Landlord
As the person living in the home, you will likely want a pest problem under control as soon as possible. However, it is important that you follow the proper procedure for reporting an issue to your landlord. In most circumstances, your landlord has the right to choose the pest control services they prefer and to schedule the appointment. However, if the problem is severe, you may offer to contract a pest control company yourself after you inform your landlord of the problem.
If your landlord fails to fix the problem in a reasonable amount of time, you may then have the right to deal with it yourself. However, if you pay for the appointment, it may be difficult to get your landlord to reimburse the cost. In some states you may be able to withhold the cost of the treatment from your rent. In other states, withholding rent to cover the cost of treatment can be considered a breech of contract and can put your right to rent at risk.
Overall, go over your contract and talk to your landlord right away if pests are taking over your property.