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Forums » Landlord & Rental Property Questions » Pest Control, Who's responsible the landlord or the tenant?

Pest Control, Who's responsible the landlord or the tenant?

15 posts by 11 users


Real Estate Consultant · Charlotte, North Carolina

If you have a single family home rented out for a year lease, ideally who is responsible for extermination for waterbugs the tenat or the landlord?

· OR

It should say in your lease.

My rental agreement says that the landlord does extermination between tenants and turns the unit over pest-free. After move-in, the tenant is responsible for pest control.

(I exclude termites and powder post beetles, but the lease doesn't actually say so).

The law might vary from state to state, so you need a state specific answer.

Water bugs are like cockroaches, aren't they? Combat gel should kill them. It's cheap and easy.

SFR Investor · Hephzibah, Georgia

I know this is an old post but, thanks for posting because it was a question that I had.

I had pest control come in before the contractors started work on my rental. The pest control company asked if I wanted to go under contract (paid quarterly), and include the cost in the rent. I told them not at the present time.

I like the idea of pest control between tenants, but will look at my State law to see how it should be handled.

Michelle M., T. Vision Invesments, LLC

This post has been hidden.

Real Estate Investor · Toledo, Ohio

It's fairly inexpensive to send a local exterminated over. My guy charges $36 for ants, reaches, rodents or whatever other pests my tenants have attracted. I pay for it. I don't offer it up, so most deal with it themselves. However, there are those tenants who are helpless fools and I look at it as one more opportunity to make them think I walk on water. I kind of think of it as a marketing expense.

SFR Investor · Hephzibah, Georgia

I just looked at our Landlord Tenant Handbook, and it states that pest control is not necessarily a maintenance responsibility for the landlord. The lease should specify whether or not pest control will be provided by the landlord. It may become a landlord issue when housing or health codes require it because the property’s conditions violate health and safety codes.

As you mentioned Brian, when I purchase a multi-unit I will likely go under contract with a pest control company because, in this type of dwelling there will be more people in the building with different characters (some clean, some not so), but in a single family home (since I’m not required to) I think the tenant being the only family there, and having more control over the presence or not of pest being in the home should handle it, unless of course we’re talking about termites.

I’m all for pre-move in pest control.

Michelle M., T. Vision Invesments, LLC

SFR Investor · Hephzibah, Georgia

Ryan, is that $36.00 a visit or are you on a quarterly contract? Either way, you're right that's not bad. The company I've used charged $75.00 a visit.

Michelle M., T. Vision Invesments, LLC

Real Estate Investor · Middletown, New Jersey

Originally posted by P NW:
It should say in your lease.

My rental agreement says that the landlord does extermination between tenants and turns the unit over pest-free. After move-in, the tenant is responsible for pest control.

Mine says the same thing. I go over the lease with the tenant prior to move in and have them sign each page, and make sure they understand this item.

I have a property where the house next door (these are rowhouses) was vacant and the grass in the yard was over 3 feet tall. Mice started invading my property, so I paid for the exterminator a few times over several months and that took care of the problem. It wasn't the tenant's fault.

As others have done, I usually exterminate the rowhouse properties between tenants, because although my tenants have been generally clean, the neighbors are not always the same way.

SFR Investor · Hephzibah, Georgia

Aly, your case is a good example of when I would pay for pest control outside of move-in for a tenant in a single family home, as a matter of fact it may be an example of when I might be required by local ordinances to pay.

Also, I read your profile. I'm proud of you for your success with short sales. I tried a couple, I don't have the patience.

Michelle M., T. Vision Invesments, LLC

Wholesaler · Riverside, California

Sometimes bugs just show up. Sometimes they show up for a reason. I don't offer pest control in my rental agreements. However, if ants start showing up (very common around here) I will have the property sprayed. If cock roaches start showing up, I will inspect the property to see why they have suddenly decided to move in. Like a rolling stone gathers no moss, a clean house (typically) gathers no bugs. I know there are exceptions, and those exceptions I will gladly pay for.

· San Diego, California

I was thinking about this question the other day.I did some research and came across this article with some helpful information.

Hope it helps! [LINK REMOVED]

Rehabber · Santa Clarita, California

If you deliver a pest free home at time of lease contract, other than termites, it should stay that way; however, ants are common so most landlords will agree to pay for such treatments. "Water bugs" as they were called in the OG post are likely American or Oriental cockroaches, of which, do not infest indoors. So if they are found indoors, they have come in from the exterior but will not infest, mate, or lay eggs inside. Those disgusting creatures are the German cockroaches which are common in dirty kitchens/bathrooms (anywhere indoors where moisture and a food source is available) and most common in apartments. For an SFR, I would make sure my lease held the tenants responsible for such an infestation. For ants/rodents, I would assume responsibility. Rodents can only get inside if the home is not sealed from all parts of the exterior (or through an open door left unattended and usually at dusk (rodents are nocturnal creatures).

For apartment buildings, it is part of the owners cost of doing business as tenants will not pay for cockroach infestations and it would be difficult to prove which unit was the cause of the starting infestation at times.

Small_be_logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
E-Mail: [email protected]

Commercial Real Estate Broker · Canton, Georgia

So do you think having the termite company give a hand out on how to keep bugs down in each unit to tenants would be helpful.

Kind of like a helpful tips sheet??

We are going to be doing inspections once a month on cleanliness and other items with the property and changing filters.

Small_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: 678-779-2798 [email protected]

Rehabber · Santa Clarita, California

Joel, that is a very good item to implement, in fact, most pest control companies have these types of sheets already made up and give them to customers, you should be able to access them from reputable companies

Small_be_logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
E-Mail: [email protected]

Hard Money Lender · Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Here's my take:

Cockroaches - we don't see them often in the north, but if I did, Boric acid takes care of it. Since I've never had a cockroach in my units, it would be the tenant responsiblity, but to avoid a health department complaint, I'd probably treat and charge back to the tenant.

Mice - we get lots of them, I pay for it. Unless they are white, in which case it was an unauthorized pet. :-)

Ants - I treat regularly with exterior traps and sprays when necessary.

Fleas - I allow pets, so a flea infestation is caused solely by the tenant. I've had two of them (infestations), and in both cases, the tenant disclaimed responsibility. Since I hadn't addressed it in the lease, I paid and advised the tenant that future infestations were on their nickel.

This post has reminded me that I never addressed it, so I just wrote up an addendum to have any tenant with a pet sign at the time. Thanks for the reminder!

Small_small_logoAnn Bellamy, Buy Now, LLC
Telephone: 800-418-0081
Hard money lending in NH and MA, and for free networking in MA,

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