Whether you are a renter or a landlord, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. One issue that can cause some confusion is whether landlords or tenants are responsible for pest control in rental properties. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. The law does not put the burden solely on tenants or landlords for pest control.
When they rent out their property, landlords are responsible for ensuring that they are in habitable condition. Part of being habitable is being free of pests. Therefore, landlords should make sure that pest control treatment is done before a new tenant moves into the property.
Furthermore, if a tenant notices pests in the weeks after moving into the property, the landlord should cover pest control. That is because, in those instances, the pests were probably already present and simply became more noticeable over time.
Likewise, if there is a structural defect that allows pests inside, that is the landlord’s responsibility. The landlord would need to fix those structural defects and should pay for pest control afterwards, to ensure that the property is habitable.
During the Rental
However, if the pest problem does not appear until after the tenants have taken possession, the tenant may be responsible for the pests. Tenants can do so many different things that can attract pests to a home. That not only puts their rental unit at risk, but can also attract pests to neighboring units. The landlord has a reasonable expectation that the tenants will maintain their property in a way that does not attract pests and takes care of any pests that they do bring into the unit.
Access for Treatment
Furthermore, if a landlord arranges a pest control treatment, the tenant needs to comply. Tenants should allow pest control professionals access to their unit to facilitate any treatments that the landlord schedules.
Given that termites are such a serious problem in Australia, it should come as no surprise that there is an exception for termites. Landlords are responsible for getting rid of termites at all stages.
Reaching a Solution
If you are a tenant experiencing a pest control problem, the first step is to contact your landlord. If they refuse treatment, you can get pest control treatment. You may then be able to pursue a case against them for failing to maintain a habitable building, if that is the case. However, you do not have to wait for that to get treatment for the pests.
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