Whether you live in a highly populated city or a more suburban town, having pests in your apartment is inevitable. Nearly every apartment renter deals with bugs or mice appearing at some point. But who is responsible for removing these pests? Is it your responsibility or your landlord’s problem? Keep reading to learn the 7 things you need to know about pest control apartment laws to stay informed and up to date!
1. What Are Common Pests to Look Out For?
Before we dive into the laws around apartment pest control, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Across the US, one of the most common pests that cause issues for apartments is bed bugs. These stubborn bugs require comprehensive treatment to effectively get rid of them.
Other common pests include cockroaches, rodents, ants, fleas, ticks, termites, spiders, silverfish and flies. Some areas of the US may attract different pests than other areas. For example, termites are more common in the southern part of the country. Taking care of these pests usually involves a pest control service that can professionally handle the problem.
Below, we’ve covered the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant when it comes to actually handling and paying for pest control for an apartment.
2. What Are the Landlord’s Responsibilities?
In general, a landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the property. Before any new tenants move in, the landlord should make sure the property has been inspected and that any pest infestations have been removed.
Any structural issues should also be handled in between tenants. Any issues like cracks or any openings in walls or doors, windows with torn screens, etc. are the responsibility of the landlord to manage. Pests and mice can come through any holes in your home, so a crack even as small as a pencil can cause issues.
However, be sure to check your rental control. This should cover any specifics relating to the maintenance of the property to prevent pests.
3. Should the Landlord Pay for Pest Control?
In most cases, the landlord is legally required to maintain the property, including having a pest-free environment. It’s beneficial for the landlord and property management company to keep up with the maintenance of a property since it will be more attractive to new tenants. This includes preventing pests from entering the home.
Whether or not the landlord is legally required to handle pest control, you will need to search your rental agreement. If the landlord includes a list of their responsibilities in the rental agreement and includes pest control services, then the costs are most likely also included.
But it’s possible that the landlord will pay for initial pest control treatment between tenants, and make it the responsibility of future tenants to handling the upkeep. Then there are cases in which the tenant is required to handle pest control in general, based on the rental agreement.
The point here is that the rental agreement will dictate who is responsible for pest control. So it’s important to thoroughly read your agreement before signing your apartment lease.
4. What is the Tenant Responsible for?
Tenants also have responsibilities for maintaining an apartment, according to the law. If a major problem occurs in your apartment as a result of you not keeping up with your end of the maintenance agreement, then you may not be able to rely on the landlord for repairs.
Some responsibilities of the tenant include keeping the rental unit clean and safe. Also, the tenant is likely going to need to dispose of garbage in a safe manner, as well as keeping plumbing fixtures clean.
Using the apartment’s features in a proper manner, including the electrical system, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc. is also the responsibility of the tenant. Essentially, if you break things or misuse them, you will likely need to pay for the repairs.
5. Is the Tenant Responsible for Pest Control?
Tenants are partially responsible for pest control, and before they sign the lease, they need to ensure that the property has been inspected for signs of pests.
It’s also the tenant’s job to make sure the rental contract was reviewed to see if there is mention of pests and ask the landlord if it’s not included.
Once the property has been rented, it’s the job of the tenant to keep the apartment clean and free from pests if possible. Things like regular cleanup and garbage disposal to prevent pests are the responsibility of the tenant. This includes keeping food containers properly sealed and preventing water stagnation around the rental unit.
Also, any structural damage or signs of pests should be reported. The damage could be a sign of termites, and noted it early will help in the long run.
One of the most common causes of pests in the home is an improper garbage disposal. Make sure you keep garbage bins covered and follow the local laws for disposing of trash.
6. Where Does the Property Management Company Fit In?
If you work with a property management company and it’s in your lease agreement for them to handle pests, they should seek the services of a professional pest control expert.
In general, the landlord or property management company, and then tenant, should fulfill all responsibilities when it comes to keeping the property maintained and free of pests. Regular inspections will help identify any signs of pests early on. Identifying the problem and handling it is beneficial to all parties involved.
7. Laws Specific to Your State
The law may vary depending on the state you live in. The Illinois Legal Aid covers the specifics for this state as it relates to both tenants and landlords. Also in Illinois, tenants are responsible for reporting infestations of things like bed bugs to the landlord and the problem must be dealt with by both parties to prevent the spread.
If a tenant or landlord wants to pursue legal action, the laws of the state must first be evaluated. Contacting an attorney will help you understand your rights in court.
It’s Important to Follow and Understand Pest Control Apartment Laws
Having an apartment or rental unit that is free of pests is helpful for everyone involved! It’s important to inspect your rental agreement to understand what role the landlord and tenant each play in pest control. That’s why you need to know about pest control apartment laws.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with all your pest control needs!