Who is Responsible for Pest Control (Landlords or Tenants)?
The proportion of UK renters has doubled in 20 years, making it all the more important you know your rights and responsibilities when living in a rented property. Pest control in UK rentals can be confusing, as there are literally thousands of ways pests can infest a property, whether it is preventable or not.
If you live in rented accommodation, it is always a good idea to alert your landlord of the issue and what steps you intend to take to rid the infestation, as they may be able to help.
Who is responsible for pest control when renting?
Landlords should want to keep their property pest-free at all times. However, this isn’t always the case. It’s always a good idea to thoroughly read the contract before you sign it, but pay extra attention to the regulations in place around pest control – if there even is any.
Some contracts will fail to highlight the issue of pest control, and if yours doesn’t, bring it to the attention of the landlord before you sign it so they can add any agreements you have to the contract.
However, if this wasn’t organised before the contract was signed, you might be liable. There are a few simple pointers that often indicate who is liable to pay:
1. If your property was furnished when you moved in, it is likely your landlord is responsible for any costs, as all furniture needs to be safe, otherwise, they will be liable to any injuries caused by ‘unsafe living conditions’.
2. If pests have entered the property due to repairs or areas that need repairs, it is the landlord’s responsibility.
3. If you, as a tenant, haven’t been keeping the property clean and regularly emptying the bins you will be liable for any pest problems you have.
You don’t always need to alert your landlord to a pest problem, as some are easily fixed with a store-bought product. However, you should alert your landlord if:
- Repairs are needed
- The pest problem has impacted your health
- It has caused damage to your furniture and belongings
What to check before you move into a rental property
The rental market is fierce, meaning many people have to move quickly when they want a place in the location they desire. Due to the fast turnover of rented properties, many people rush the process and don’t fully check the property for signs of damp, dodgy wiring and pests. When viewing rented properties, it’s important to look for signs of a pest infestation, as the last thing you’ll want to do when you move in is spending time getting rid of them and arguing with your landlord over who pays the cost.
Here are the red flags to look for when viewing a rented property:
Look in areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom, as well as the exterior of the property for signs of infestation. Pests are often very good at hiding, so if you can see droppings and dirty smears, it’s more likely there is a severe pest infestation.
Dead bugs and droppings
Even if you only spot a couple of dead bugs and droppings, there could be any sort of infestation ongoing at the property. The most common places that pests leave droppings are the window ledges and behind furniture and ovens. Old skins are also an indicator, as during a cockroaches lifespan, they’ll shed their skin 5-8 times, leaving them near the area they are sheltering – giving you a good idea of where they nest.
Nesting and gnaw marks
Rats and mice often nest with any materials they can get their paws on, so be sure to look out for anything from fluff to shredded paper in all the nooks and crannies you can see with a flashlight. Also check on the sides of wooden furniture and curtain ends for any gnaw marks – the smallest gnaw mark could be a sign of pest infestation.
Different pests have different smells, so if the smell of the property is slightly off, it’s worth identifying the cause. Bed bugs have a musty odour, whilst mice and rats smell like urine. Cockroaches, on the other hand, have a very distinct smell, often described as ‘oily-like’. Furthermore, if you can smell garbage in or around the property, it’s highly likely rats and mice can too, so locate the source to see if this can be easily rectified or whether you’d need professional help to clear the garbage.
Pest Checks For Rented Properties – full infographic
See our full pest checks for rented properties infographic here.
If you’ve discovered a problem with pests, you may be wondering what to do next. Here at The Pest Control Company, we can help identify the issue and implement methods to rid your property of pests, as well as preventative measures to stop the same problem in the future. We offer a variety of pest control services, from woodworm control to wasp nest treatment, our team are on hand to help. We have a discreet fleet of vehicles and staff to quickly rid you of your pest infestation, all at a competitive price. For more information on any of our services, please get in touch with a member of our team today.Call us on 0800 030 9173