It’s a million-dollar question which can cause conflict between a tenant and landlord, but it shouldn’t if you stick to the general guidelines.
Let’s start with what types of pests can cause problems; commonly fleas, cockroaches, ants, spiders, rats, mice, bees, wasps, snakes, possums and white ants.
The first question to ask is when did the pest problem arise? It’s simple if there is proof there was an infestation at the beginning of the tenancy agreement – it is a landlord responsibility. Why? Because a landlord is responsible to provide a rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair.
When we are describing an infestation, it refers to the presence of an unusually large number of pests and/or vermin in a place, which could cause damage or disease. But it doesn’t mean that – if there is evidence of some pests at the beginning of the tenancy – that a landlord is automatically responsible to have them removed.
The ‘black and white’ of the issue is that a landlord will remain responsible for the eradication of the following pests – white ants, possums (remove and seal entry points) and birds (remove and seal entry points). Also, if bees and wasps are found in the wall cavity of the rental property or if the landlord leaves piles of rubbish in the yards and snakes are found, then in these scenarios the responsibility is with the landlord to have them removed. *A kind reminder: snakes are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and it is an offence to kill or injure a snake in Australia unless they threaten life.
It is usually the responsibility of a tenant to eradicate pests and vermin which become a problem during the tenancy. Lack of action to eradicate them could see the tenants responsible for the damage the pests and/or vermin cause to the rental property as well. Why? Because the Residential Tenancies Act states the tenant must take reasonable care of the rental property and keep the premises reasonably clean.
So, in summary, the eradication of pests and/or vermin at a rental property, doesn’t automatically land with the landlord on all occasions.
Stick to the facts and the answer on who is responsible will be there.
Call Lisa Akeroyd at Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660, or drop into the BRS office in Tanunda to discuss your rental strategy.