Bugs, Rats, and Roaches: Do I Have to Pay for Pest Control?

People often ask whether it is the landlord or the tenant’s responsibility to provide pest control for things like rats roaches or bugs. The answer is that it’s complicated. Sometimes it may be the tenant’s responsibility, sometimes it may be the landlord’s, and sometimes it may be both.

Generally, the landlord is responsible for the structure of the building be it a home, townhome, or apartment. This includes things like walls, foundations, roofs, attics, crawlspaces, and basements. The landlord also has to fix things like window and door seals and external vents. The tenant, however, is responsible for keeping the interior living spaces clean and free of things that may attract pests like garbage. The tenant is also responsible for any pests that are brought in by pets such as dogs who stay outdoors.

Where is the Problem?

To figure out whose responsibility pest control is you first have to figure out where the problem is. If the problem is that rats are getting into the house through holes in the walls or crawlspace than the landlord needs to make the repairs and deal with the rat problem. Or, if there are bats or squirrels living in the attic because the landlord has failed to repair the roof than the landlord needs to repair the roof and deal with the animal problem.

But if the problem is roaches finding their way into the house because there is garbage piled up in the kitchen that is the tenant’s responsibility. Or if the tenants dog is bringing fleas or ticks into the house because it stays outside that is also the tenants responsibility.

If your rented home has a pest problem first make sure that you the tenant are not the issue. Make sure you bag all of your garbage and take it out regularly, keep the unit, especially the kitchen, clean, and make sure you use flea and tick repellent on any animals. Don’t leave food out on the counter and make sure you put leftovers in containers with sealed lids.

If you live in an apartment and everyone in your building has the same pest problem it is more likely to be a building wide issue that is the landlord’s responsibility than if you live in a home alone. Your lease may provide that either you, or the landlord, have to provide exterminator services if pests appear in your home. If you are being charged a monthly pest control fee call the company that provides the pest control if you have issues with bugs or rodents. You’re paying for them, feel free to use them.