Who is Responsible for Pest Control – Tenant or Landlord?

Landlord or tenant should pay for pest control - all the answers.

Pest control is usually one of those things people don’t like to talk about. And for good reasons – even though pests are exceptionally common, most people believe they will not have to deal with this issue at one point or another. And most people are wrong.

Pests are so common that it should come as no surprise that in some Australian states, landlords are obligated to perform pest inspections at least once a year (especially in regards to termites and cockroaches). However, it’s not always clear who is responsible for handling the pest control bill, so Fantastic Pest Control decided to shed a little light on the matter.

Tenant Pest Control Responsibilities

Tenants are responsible for the overall day to day maintenance of the property. Things such as cleanliness are not the landlord’s responsibility. Appliance safety and outlets that are not owned by the landlord are also under the tenant’s management.

The tenant needs to make sure the conditions they live in do not cause foreseeable problems (for example, leaving food around the house and living in a messy environment can lead to pests, which is easy to predict).

When do tenants pay for pest control?

When the tenant’s actions have directly or indirectly lead to the pest problem, they are the one who has to pay for the pest control.

In cases where the origin of the pest problem can be easily traced to the tenant’s negligence or actions (and the cause can usually be determined fairly easily), it’s the tenant’s responsibility to cover the pest control bill.

If the tenant has a pet, then the likelihood of having a pest problem increases. Not only are fleas often associated with pets due to fleas’ specific relationship with their host, but usually their food and water bowls are one of the main pest attractants.

Since food, water, and safety are the three main things pests are looking for in a human home, the pets’ bowls grant two out of three (if we’re talking about fleas, three out of three). In those instances, the responsibility falls upon the tenant’s shoulders.

Landlord Pest Control Responsibilities

Landlords are responsible for maintaining the exterior and structural integrity of the building. They are also responsible for everything working properly inside the home (things like electricity, water, gas, etc.). In case any appliances are owned by the landlord, they are also their responsibility.

Finally, a landlord should also ensure the cleanliness and living conditions in the accommodation before a new tenant moves in.

When do landlords pay for pest control?

In all Australian states, it’s a landlord’s responsibility to handle potential pests that may threaten the structural integrity of the building. By law, this only concerns termites, but in reality, it might also involve other insects that nibble on wood, such as carpenter ants, carpenter bees and wasps, or Australian wood cockroaches.

Woodworms may also be a problem, so a good practice is to cover all fronts, even when not required by law. A normal termite inspection (which is required once a year) should be able to reveal other potential wood pests.

In case a pest infestation is discovered within a month of the new tenant moving in, it’s also the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the treatment. It’s a good idea to keep track of how often there are pest infestations discovered on the premises and under what conditions.

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