If mice, rats, fleas, bedbugs or other pests invade a property you’re letting to a tenant, are you, as landlord, responsible for dealing with this problem?
Yes or no?
There’s no simple yes or no answer, as it depends on the circumstances. As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities. While pest control may not be specifically listed as the landlord’s responsibility, it can nevertheless be covered by the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Fit for human habitation
If the tenancy agreement does state that the landlord is responsible for pest control, then clearly they must ensure that any such infestations are effectively dealt with. The tenancy agreement may not mention pest control as such, but is likely to state that the landlord must keep the property in a condition that is ‘fit to live in’. This applies to any tenancy agreement that began on or after 20th March 2019, due to new regulations regarding homes being fit for human habitation.
If repairs are required
If an infestation occurred because the landlord did not make certain repairs to the property, then the landlord is responsible for dealing with the infestation. For example, if rodents gained access due to holes in walls or doors, or because of damage to windows or pipework, the landlord must sort out pest control as well as the necessary repairs.
The tenant’s responsibility
Tenants’ responsibility is to keep their home in a clean and habitable condition. If they have attracted pests, for example by leaving food to rot or not taking out the rubbish, it means that they, rather than the landlord, could be to blame.