What is a pest infestation?
A pest infestation is a situation where any kind of pest, including rats, mice, cockroaches or bedbugs infiltrate your home. Pests are a serious issue as they can damage the home and cause diseases. The quicker the problem is detected, the easier it is to sort. The responsibility of sorting out the issue and eradicating pests from home will fall to either the landlord or the tenant, depending on the situation; so, when is it your responsibility, and what should you do?
When are tenants responsible?
The responsibility will generally fall to whichever party has caused the issue for the pests to enter the home. For example, if the tenant has failed to properly dispose of rubbish, which has then led to rodents infesting the property, this would be the tenant’s fault and, therefore, their responsibility.
When are landlords responsible?
Landlords are required to make sure a rented property is fit and safe to live in, including preventing pest infestations (which would obviously make a home unfit to live in and potentially very unsafe.)
If the property needs repairs to prevent pests from getting in, this would be the landlord’s responsibility as they have failed to ensure that the property is fit and safe to live in – they would then need to arrange and pay for the necessary repairs.
Essentially, unless it is clear that the direct cause of the issue is down to the tenant, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to fix the problem.
There are, of course, some exceptions to this; it’s important to check your tenancy agreement as this can sometimes outline whose responsibility it is.
Signs to look out for
When dealing with a pest problem, the earlier it is tackled the better, so if you are worried you may have a pest infestation, there are some key signs to look out for.
Evidence of nesting, gnawing, droppings and strange smells and sounds are big signs that you may have a rodent infestation in your home, even if you haven’t seen any rodents themselves.
Dead bugs around windows and in the basement, as well as damage to plant leaves, are good signs that there may be bugs in the home.
So, what should you do?
Regardless of the cause of the infestation, the first thing you should do when facing a pest problem is always to contact the landlord and inform them.
Ensuring good communication and a positive relationship with your landlord will always help in this situation. It means that you can work together to sort the issue, making the process much quicker and easier.
The next important step is to determine the source of the infestation – you can get rid of the pests, but if the cause of the problem isn’t addressed, they will soon return.
Once you have found the cause of the issue, it should hopefully clarify whether it is your responsibility or your landlord’s, meaning the relevant party can contact and arrange a visit from pest control to fix the issue as quickly as possible.
If in unfortunate circumstances, you notify your landlord about the issue and they refuse to resolve it, it is best to speak to your local council, who will arrange an inspection and offer advice and supports
However, removing pests from the property as quickly as possible is also beneficial for landlords. It prevents any additional damage to their property and prevents the issue from getting out of control, so landlords should cooperate to solve the issue with urgency in most cases.