Are You Or Your Landlord Responsible For Pest Control?

Your rental unit is full of rats. Is it your responsibility or is it your landlord's? Before you take action to call in the home pest control services, you may want to figure out who should be paying the bill. It may depend on your lease, your state, and the circumstances.

Did You Cause the Infestation? 

Regardless of whether a landlord would otherwise be responsible for pest control, you will be considered responsible if you did something to cause the infestation. Many people can be surprised about what can cause a cockroach, ant, rat, or other pest infestation.

A few causes include:

  • Leaving out water. While most people think it's food that causes an infestation, both insects and animals are actually more likely to be looking for a source of clean water.
  • Not attending to a known issue. A few rats or cockroaches can get in from time to time. If you didn't tell the landlord over a period of months, the worsened situation might be your responsibility.
  • Having a lot of clutter or dirt. If your home does not appear to be presentable (in other words, it looks messier than average), then it may be determined that your living situation caused the infestation.

Simply living your life day-to-day and occasionally leaving out some dirty dishes is usually not enough to show that you caused an infestation.

What Does Your Lease Say?

Your lease may say that you're responsible for regular pest control services. If this is true, then you need to arrange these services periodically for proactive treatments. It's not enough to treat a property when an infestation has already begun. Most pest control is preventative because it is much harder to get rid of an infestation than it is to prevent one. If you haven't been getting proactive treatments, you'll be responsible for later pest control issues.

If your lease doesn't directly specify that you're responsible for your pest control, then your landlord is responsible. This is part of the Landlord and Tenant Code, which is something that exists in every state, and which mandates that a property needs to be kept habitable.

It's worth it to check with your landlord to find out whether they would be willing to offer pest control or whether they have a preferred pest control service. Regardless, the situation should be dealt with immediately if you want to avoid costly issues later on.