01 Jul 2022

Ask Jackie: Pest control - is it the landlord or tenant's responsibility?

Ask Jackie: Pest control - is it the landlord or tenant's responsibility?

Ask Jackie: Pest control - is it the landlord or tenant's responsibility?

I have recently become a landlord. My tenant has reported finding droppings under the kitchen sink and has heard scratching noises coming from the attic of the property. Is it my or the tenant's responsibility to organise pest control to visit the property?

We have been taking care of properties for landlords for years, and this is one of the scenarios we handle at various times throughout the year.

The responsibility for dealing with mice or other pests can either be the tenant's or your responsibility, but it does depend on what has caused the problem in the first place.

An issue like you have described may be caused by the tenant's negligence – for example not putting out the rubbish, leaving food around the property or leaving external doors open.

On the other hand, it may be caused by pests gaining access to the property through gaps in walls, pipes, sewers, drain pipes, etc. In that case, it is the landlord's issue.

As a landlord, it is important to ensure that the property is maintained and that all repairs and similar issues are dealt with under the 2004 Tenancies Act. In this instance, the issue has been reported to you, and as the landlord must respond to this. Ultimately the responsibility lies with you, the landlord to investigate and rectify the problem.

I suggest that you investigate what is causing the problem and then do what needs to be done to sort it out. Establishing the cause is your primary concern. If you find that the tenant is at fault, it may be possible to reclaim the cost of engaging a pest control company from the tenants.

However, often the problem arises from gaps in points near sewers, pipes, drain pipes, etc, where there is easy access for pests to the property. Once the pest control company sort the problem, it is advisable to make these fixes to ensure the problem does not rise again.

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