TenantsTips / USA / Tenants Rights to Pest Control

Tenants Rights to Pest Control

Bed bugs, roaches, termites, rats and mice – if you’ve got a pest problem in a rental property, your landlord must step up.

Pest control in rental units is outlined in most states landlord-tenant laws, and also in your local health and safety codes. Pests are a sanitation problem, and renters with landlords who allow them may find their health is at risk.

These pests might be drawn to a rental property because of garbage lying around, unsound structures, debris or other scraps that make good living places for rodents and others. Tenants have the right to a living environment free from pests. Your lawyer is legally obligated to answer your requests for pest control! A rental property with no rodents, bugs or vermin is a basic living right. Continue reading to find out what your landlord or property manager’s obligations are when it comes to pest control.


As a tenant who is aware of a pest-control issue, you have the responsibility of informing your landlord in writing. In a letter sent by certified mail or hand delivered, request pest control services. This could include fumigation, repairs or removal of refuse and trash.

Depending on your state’s landlord-tenant laws, your landlord will need to pay for the service or at least try to fix the pest problem within a certain time frame. If your landlord does not take any action, you may have grounds to withhold rent or even to break your lease – but you’ll want to check your state and local laws first before taking this step. Other legal action could include getting a court order that will require your landlord to deal with the pest problem instead of continuing to ignore it. No matter where you live, tenants’ laws recognize a clean and safe living environment as a fundamental right for renters.

pest control

However, tenants also have the responsibility to live in a way that doesn’t attract pests, and that includes disposing of their garbage properly, washing dishes and other hygienic practices. If a landlord can make an argument that the tenants’ unsanitary living conditions are the reason for the pest problem, tenants may be required to pay to get rid of the infestation – either in part or in full.


Your lease agreement should include some clauses that identify how pest control will be handled and who will pay for it. Even if it doesn’t include this important information, some states will still require landlords to take care of a pest problem. For example, landlords and property management services in Florida are responsible for pest control in rental apartments. There may be additional local laws about pest control, health and sanitation that may apply to your case, depending on your geographical area.


Some pest problems may be so severe as to require the application of pesticides. Fumigation services in an apartment, for example, could potentially expose tenants to harmful chemicals. Anytime a landlord or property manager plans to deploy pesticides – whether it’s to get rid of an infestation or as part of routine pest control services – renters are required to be informed in writing. This could include notification that a pest control company will be accessing the building or rental unit, and what types of pesticides will be used as part of the extermination services.

Don’t live with an infestation, no matter where you are renting. Demand that your landlord uphold sanitation standards when it comes to pest control and keep records of your written service requests and notifications in case the courts must get involved to force your landlord to comply.


Login or Register FREE to add comment.