Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control? 

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We frequently get the question, “are landlords responsible for pest control?”  The less than straightforward answer is, “it depends.”  The laws associated with pest control and rental properties vary from state to state and can be a bit confusing. Adding to the confusion, it’s often difficult to determine who is responsible for causing the pest control issue.  Did a tenant bring in unwanted pests? Did the landlord fail to provide a safe and habitable property?  There are many variables and differing opinions, so let’s learn the facts about who pays for pest control in Arizona.

Do Landlords Pay for Pest Control? It Depends. 

Apartments 

Generally, an apartment complex landlord will pay for pest control for general pests (ants, scorpions, cockroaches, crickets, etc.). Exterior service for general pests is often provided on a monthly, every other month, or quarterly basis. And inside service is often provided for certain pest infestations and at times simply based upon request. An apartment lease agreement typically explains which pests are covered and which pests are not covered. However, pests not covered under your agreement or recurring inside treatments may be your responsibility as the tenant.

That said, if a tenant’s behavior or living conditions are causing a pest problem and that is not corrected, a landlord may not be able to assign treatment responsibility to the tenant. 

Single Family Homes 

Generally, for single-family homes, pest control is not provided by the landlord. So typically, pest control is the tenant’s responsibility. There are certain situations where the landlord covers pest control, so refer to your lease to look for those details. 

There are situations where there is an active infestation prior to moving into the home and/or an infestation that arises from conditions around or in the home that is a landlord’s responsibility. In these instances, a landlord may be required to provide the necessary pest control services to get the home “safe and habitable”. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at who is responsible for what according to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

The Landlord’s Responsibilities Relating to Pest Control are to:

  • Comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
  • Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
  • Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal.

The Tenant’s Responsibilities Relating to Pest Control are to:

  • Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit.
  • Dispose of his dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
  • Promptly notify the landlord in writing of any situation or occurrence that requires the landlord to provide maintenance or make repairs or otherwise requires the landlord to take action.

So, Who is Responsible for Pest Control in a Rental Property?

Ideally, a lease agreement would clearly define who is responsible for pest control services of a rented property.  Lease agreement aside, the Landlord and Tenant Act provides some general guidelines as to who is responsible for pest control. 

Landlords typically take responsibility for pest control issues in a rented property when an infestation of insects or rodents can be a condition that affects health and safety, that is not being caused by the tenant’s actions.  However, if the tenant’s actions or lack of action leads to an infestation (not taking out trash attracts rodents) then the responsibility for pest control may revert to the tenant.

Breaking Your Lease Because of Rats and Other Pests

Signing a rental contract on a new place can be both exciting and stressful.  Excitement will quickly turn to dread should you discover rats, cockroaches, scorpions, ants or other pests will be your new roommates. 

So, does finding pests in your rental give you legal cause to break your lease? If the infestation is serious enough that it can be considered a health concern, you may have grounds to terminate your lease due to the landlord violating the obligation to “maintain fit premises.”

After discovering a pest issue, your first step should be to contact your landlord, giving them a chance to resolve the problem.  Most pest issues can be remedied quickly as the tenant, landlord, and a licensed pest control provider work together.  Documenting steps taken to resolve the pest issue is always good practice should a disagreement arise in the future.

Are Landlords or Tenants Responsible for Bed Bugs?

When bed bugs are involved, there can be quite a debate concerning who pays for treatment.  Because bed bugs can be brought in by new tenants, or a pre-existing infestation may go undiscovered by the landlord, who is responsible to get the bed bugs treated?  

If you are in an apartment and have bed bugs, odds are you won’t have a very hard time getting your landlord to cover treatment. Bed bugs spread easily between apartments, so landlords usually prefer to address the problem early. Conversely, landlords of stand-alone homes usually don’t cover bed bug treatments, unless there is a known issue of bed bugs prior to a new tenant moving in. Bed bugs don’t come from the outside and are often unknowingly moved into the home by a new tenant. Because bed bugs can create an opportunity for landlord/tenant frustration, avoid such by always getting a clear understanding of pest control responsibilities when signing a new lease.

Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control Conclusion

Our answer to the question, “are landlords responsible for pest control” is still, “it depends.”  In general, the landlord is responsible for pest control treatment when an infestation causes health or safety issues.  The tenant is responsible when their action, or lack of action, is the cause of the infestation.  In addition, your lease agreement may have further clarification in defining pest-control responsibilities.  

If you’re having issues with unwanted pests in your home or rental properties in the Phoenix metropolitan area, contact Blue Sky Pest Control.  Let us use our years of Arizona-specific experience to prevent pest and rodent damage. Be worry-free because your home is pest-free. Click here to get your free estimate. We serve the entire Phoenix area including Gilbert.

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