A tenant submits a written notice to their landlord that they've discovered roaches in their rental unit. Who is responsible for this cost?
Many tenants automatically assume that their landlord is responsible for all pest control costs, but this isn't necessarily true.
There are times when tenants may be on the hook for pest control costs. Here are the circumstances that must be considered.
Why Are the Pests In the Home?
Sometimes the weather drives pests from outside to inside.
In this circumstance, the landlord would be responsible for maintaining and paying for pest control.
Sometimes a tenant's living habits, such as leaving food out, failing to maintain a clean environment, and other choices encourages pests to come into a rental unit.
Upon inspection, if these conditions are present within the home, the landlord may be able to force the tenant to pay for services.
If the tenant's actions are causing pests to come inside a rental unit, then this may also be considered a health or safety hazard.
In many jurisdictions, this would allow a landlord to be able to begin the eviction process.
The Exterior Belongs to the Landlord
In general terms, the landlord is required to prevent pests from entering a rental unit from the exterior.
A failure to provide this service, especially when a written notice is received from a tenant, could also violate the terms and conditions of a lease and allow a tenant to move out without penalty.
The tenant is responsible for the interior. If the tenant is performing work on the exterior of the property, however, their actions could be considered as a cause for a pest invasion.
Gardening, changes to landscaping, and other property modifications could encourage more pests and this would then potentially become the tenant's responsibility.
In many cases, it can be difficult to know for certain why there are pests coming into a rental unit.
Unless there is direct evidence that a tenant's behavior is causing the pest control issue, the best practice for landlords is to just schedule services and let the experts provide an opinion.
This way the issue of tenants rights and pest control can be resolved without question and without the potential for future litigation.
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