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Pests in your property – whose responsibility is it?

Dealing with pests in a property can be a frustrating and sometimes alarming experience for landlords and tenants alike. From rodents to insects, pests can cause damage, health hazards, and discomfort. However, determining who is responsible for addressing pest issues in a rental property isn’t always straightforward. In this blog, we’ll explore the responsibilities of landlords and tenants regarding pest control.

Understanding landlord responsibilities

As the owner of the property, landlords have certain legal obligations when it comes to maintaining a safe and habitable living environment for tenants. These responsibilities include ensuring that the property is free from hazards and infestations, including pests. Landlords must:

  • provide a pest-free environment: Landlords are responsible for ensuring that the property is free from pests at the beginning of the tenancy. This includes conducting regular inspections and taking necessary measures to prevent infestation;
  • take prompt action: If pests are discovered during the tenancy, landlords must take prompt action to address the issue. This may involve hiring professional pest control services to eliminate the infestation.

Plus, landlords must keep on top of repairs and maintenance. As the landlord of the property, you are responsible for the structure and fabric of the building, toilet facilities and drainage, utilities and any fittings.

This basic responsibility is likely to be made clear in the tenancy agreement and is, of course, the basis on which insurance for landlords makes provision for safeguarding the structure and fabric of the let property.

Landlords are responsible for repairing any structural issues or entry points that may be contributing to pest problems, such as cracks in walls or gaps around doors and windows. If pests are getting into the let property because of holes in the wall, damaged sewer pipes, or some other structural defect, therefore, it is the landlord’s responsibility to tackle the pest problem by repairing the building.

You might need to fix pipes, brickwork, doors or skirting boards if mice or rats have chewed through them, for example.

Landlords have a particular responsibility for repairing as a matter of urgency any damage that has been done to electrical wiring – failure to do so might not only land you in trouble with Health and Safety Legislation but might even invalidate your insurance.

Tenant responsibilities

While landlords bear the primary responsibility for maintaining a pest-free property, tenants also have a role to play in preventing and addressing pest issues. Tenants should:

  • report pests promptly: Tenants should report any signs of pests to the landlord or property management as soon as they become aware of them. Prompt reporting can help prevent the infestation from spreading and causing further damage;
  • maintain cleanliness: Tenants are responsible for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene within the property, as poor sanitation can attract pests. This includes proper disposal of food waste, regular cleaning, and keeping living spaces clutter-free. For example, if the infestation of pests is caused by the tenant’s lifestyle or living habits – such as failing to deal properly with rubbish or not clearing away food scraps – the responsibility is the tenant’s and he or she must deal with it;
  • co-operate with pest control measures: If pest control treatments are necessary, tenants should cooperate with the landlord or pest control professionals by following any instructions or guidelines provided.

Resolving disputes

In some cases, disputes may arise between landlords and tenants regarding pest control responsibilities. It’s essential for both parties to communicate openly and attempt to resolve the issue amicably. Keeping records of communications and any actions taken can help resolve disputes more effectively.


In the UK, the responsibility for pest control in rental properties primarily falls on landlords, who must ensure that the property remains free from infestations and hazards. However, tenants also have a role to play in preventing and reporting pest issues promptly. By understanding their respective responsibilities and working together, landlords and tenants can maintain a safe and comfortable living environment for all parties involved.

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