At Handyman Service London, we handle a lot of post and pre tenant properties and with the rise of cases we prepped this guide.
It is a common practice in the UK to prepare detailed tenancy agreements, including a clause for pest infestations and whose responsibility it is when renting. However, it also greatly depends on several conditions. When it comes to renting and pest infestation, things aren’t completely black and white. There are lots of grey areas.
Tenants sign the lease with the agreement to take care of the property and its maintenance. But what is the landlord’s responsibility? When it comes to pests, especially bed bugs, cir can be a complicated matter.
In the case of a bed bugs infestation, measures must be taken, right away. Otherwise, you risk having the infestation spread to more rooms or even to neighbouring apartments or houses.
When are landlords responsible for bed bug control?
The two main questions when dealing with a pest infestation in a rental are:
- “Who is responsible for a pest problem according to the leasing agreement?”
- “When did the infestation begin?”
Professional thermal bed bug treatment professionals say emphasize the need to clarify: When the pest appeared in the rental? If the bed bugs were present at the time of the new tenant’s arrival or before that, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the treatment.
Landlords are responsible for the wellbeing of residents in their property, note tenancy cleaner professional Jess Farinha. Meaning it’s their responsibility to pest-proof their properties, and if they are in an area with high pest populations, they should have regular pest inspections or treatments.
So, if it’s determined that a bed bugs infestation was active before the current tenant moved in, it is the landlord’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the professional pest treatment.
Agreements between landlords and tenants are also okay, as long as both parties mutually agree on a solution.
When are tenants responsible for bed bugs control?
In all leasing agreements, one of the clauses is that the tenant has to care for the property and inform the landlord in case of damage, or other problems.
This includes pest infestations.
The tenant might be responsible to pay for the pest treatment if:
- Tenants noticed bed bugs and didn’t inform the landlord right away.
- Tenants noticed bed bugs and didn’t try to get rid of them.
- The infestation occurred because of tenant negligence.
As soon as tenants discover a bed bug infestation, they must inform the landlord, regardless of who the leasing contract says is responsible for the treatment.
If the landlord is certain that there was no infestation prior to tenants moving in, it means that renters arrange the treatment.
The options to treat a bed bug infestation are to try DIY methods, which are not recommended by professional pest exterminators Bed Bug Specialists. Such methods often end badly in terms that you cannot effectively treat this type of insects because they have become resistant to most over the counter pesticides.
Attempting DIY bed bugs control might end up making the situation worse by forcing the bed bugs to disperse and hide in different places. After that, if you don’t turn to professional help, their population will grow.
The most effective treatment against bed bugs is heat treatment. It is done only by professionals with special equipment.
A disagreement between the two parties
If it’s established that it’s the landlord’s responsibility and they refuse to take measures, the tenant can turn to the local city council in search of justice. The council is not obligated to deal with pest control, and not all offer it as an option. But if the tenant complains, they can force the landlord to pay for the bed bug pest control treatment and administrative expenses.
But if it’s the tenant’s responsibility and they refuse to deal with the problem or pay a company to do it, the landlord can withhold the deposit.
How can the matter be arranged:
- Cooperate and compromise – a bed bug infestation is not a pleasant thing for either party. There’s no reason to quarrel and postpone the treatment. Both parties will benefit from eliminating the pesky bugs. To do that, the landlord and the tenant need to work together and make compromises for the common good.
- Communicate – it’s the key to getting the job started ASAP. Talk to each other for transparent communication and a clear understanding of each other’s thoughts. To avoid situations where one is thinking that the other is going to do or not do something about the property.
As a conclusion, we need to say that if both parties are willing to communicate and compromise when it’s necessary, a bed bug infestation in a rental property can be dealt with. Regardless of whose fault the infestation is.
Adequate and timely measures must be taken, in order to protect the residents not only in the infested property but also to the neighbouring properties.
Author: Dmitri Kara
Started as a jack of all trades back in early 2012, Dmitri Kara is currently a recognised expert in a wide range of domestic and commercial trades. Dmitri has appeared for quite a few reputable outlets such as Today.com, Metro.News, Telegraph.co.uk, ReadersDigest.com, Quote.com, Reviews.com, Plus.net, IkeaHackers.net, and many more.