If you were one of New South Wales’ most common household pests – like a termite, a rodent, a spider or a cockroach – you probably wouldn’t put a whole lot of thought into whether the home you’ve invaded is rented or owner-occupied. But as a landlord or a tenant, it’s a pretty big deal. So, today, let’s take a deep dive into a very important question: Who is responsible for pest control in a rental property?
According to the NSW government, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property they are making available for rent is both safe and healthy – and that’s always put in black and white in the tenancy agreement. So if pests have moved in, what is clear is that landlords cannot block professionals from entering the property in order to carry out health and safety checks and remedies.
The NSW government also insists that:
- Landlords must meet all health & safety laws
- Landlords must ensure the property is “reasonably secure”.
If that sounds a little vague to you in practice, though, you’re not alone. In fact, it just gets even more confusing when the NSW government refers specifically to pest infestations – particularly when it comes to who is responsible for pest control when renting.
So if the question is ‘Who pays for pest control when renting’, it actually depends on the details. For instance:
- Were the pests already there when the property was rented?
- Was a property fault or problem the reason for the pest infestation?
- Did the tenant cause the infestation, or make it worse?
With all this confusion, our local pest control experts thought to put their experienced heads together and come up with a quick and helpful FAQ that should clear up most of those most common rental pest control questions:
1. What if the infestation was there from the start?
Because one of the landlord’s main responsibilities is to provide a clean, healthy, safe and secure property for the tenant’s enjoyment, an infestation right at the start of the tenancy is on the landlord alone.
2. What if the infestation began shortly after the tenancy began?
Once the property has been given a clean bill of health and the tenant has moved in, the situation changes quite dramatically. From that point on, pest prevention and maintenance measures move much more onto the shoulders of the tenant. That means that if an infestation crops up because of the tenants’ behaviours – like a lack of cleanliness and upkeep – it is the tenant who will need to put it right.
Examples of tenant behaviour that makes them responsible for pests are:
- Keeping a pet on the property
- Not properly managing waste & rubbish.
3. What if the pest infestation wasn’t the tenant’s fault?
However, if the infestation emerged after the tenant moved in but it actually wasn’t their fault at all, the ball could be hit back into the landlord’s side of the court.
Examples that could shift responsibility back to the landlord include:
- Discovery of a hole in the wall
- Whether similar pest infestations occurred in the past
- Details of the property’s condition report
- Other factors outside of the tenant’s control.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the landlord and the tenant will continue to argue about who is ultimately responsible for the infestation, the necessary pest control measures and the resulting damage. To help guide them through the process, the NSW government offers a free dispute resolution service.
Landlord & tenant responsibilities NSW – Feeling confused?
If you’ve found yourself in a landlord vs tenant dispute regarding rental pest control, you’re not alone – and here’s what to do next:
- Carefully read the entire tenancy agreement
- Attempt to resolve the issue amicably
- Document any amicable resolution you reach in writing.
If an amicable agreement cannot be reached:
- Access the free dispute resolution service
- Ask NSW Fair Trading to investigate your specific case
- Move the dispute onto the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
In most cases, rental property pest control disputes NSW wide are amicably resolved long before the dispute makes its way to court. And when they are, Mr Flikem is always just around the corner to knock any and every type of pest infestation on the head with minimally disruptive and affordable services in pest control rental property NSW wide. We know that pests give both tenants and landlords mighty headaches, so let Mr Flikem help you give them the flick today.