The term ‘pest control’ covers a number of types of animal infestations and outbreaks. Pests and vermin may become evident in rental properties at some stage during a tenancy. But who is responsible for managing pest control?
Pests may include:
- Spiders (i.e. redbacks)
- Rats and mice
- Snakes and possums
- Bees and wasps
- White ants
Any (or all) of these pests and vermin may become evident in rental properties at some stage during your lease. But who is responsible for managing pest control? In many states across Australia, the legislation relating to pest control can be unclear, and is often open to interpretation, for example:
- A tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean
- The property owner is responsible for maintaining the property in a safe state of repair, fit for a tenant to reside
It’s also worthwhile noting that many local councils across Australia enforce health and safety bylaws for residential property owners to undertake pest control on an annual basis for pests and vermin, namely cockroaches.
As a general rule, however, any outbreak or infestation of pests such as rats, mice, possums, cockroaches, termites, ants, spiders, wasps or bees requiring attention by a pest control operator is the responsibility of the lessor/property manager.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
Generally, as a tenant, you are responsible for pest infestations such as fleas caused by your pets. Prevention of pests by proper storage of food, and by using sprays and baits.
When you first complete your property condition report, you should also check the premises for cleanliness and maintenance issues, including insect pests.
Your responsibilities as a property owner
Generally, as a property owner, you are responsible for pest and vermin control (such as rats, mice and termites). The exception being that the presence of the pest was caused by your tenant’s poor housekeeping or lack of cleanliness. If your tenant has not been disposing of perishable rubbish or has been undertaking activities which increase the presence of pests, as a property owner you could argue that it is your tenant’s responsibility.
REMEMBER: Many of the listed pests (above) can be eradicated through the use of simple supermarket products (i.e. insect sprays, baits and traps).
If you’re a tenant, and you’re concerned about your safety, make your concerns known to your property owner or property manager.