Pest control in a rental property is vital as infestations can cause severe property damage and may even put the tenants’ lives in danger. When left unattended, damage caused by pests like rodents, ants, cockroaches, and termites can be quite costly to resolve. Things can also become problematic since the issue of pest control in rentals often leads to disagreements between landlords and tenants. This is because it can be complicated to figure out who is responsible for the pest infestation in the first place.
Who is responsible for pest control in a rental property in Oregon is often a bone of contention that has led to numerous conflicts between landlords and tenants.
If you’re dealing with such a dilemma, it’s worth knowing where you stand before you decide to call for help. In Oregon, landlords are required to provide a habitable home that is free from pests and other health hazards, to begin with. Upon moving in, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to keep it that way.
Why Pest Control in a Rental Property Causes Conflict
Landlords can claim that it’s the tenants’ responsibility when the pest infestation occurred when the latter started renting the property. They can say that the tenants brought the pests with them or that their habits had attracted the pests.
On the other hand, tenants can claim that the pests have been there before they even moved in. They can say that the landlord failed to do proper maintenance, so they should be held responsible for pest control in a rental property.
The best way to avoid this conflict is to agree on who is responsible for pest control services and treatments before the property is leased. Landlords and tenants can both have valid claims, so it is best to have this matter clarified and specifically laid out in the rental agreement.
The Responsibilities of the Landlord
The implied warranty of habitability includes pest control in a rental property. This warranty ensures tenants that their landlords are providing them with an acceptable living space. Since properties with pests can be considered uninhabitable, preventive pest control becomes the duty of the landlords. This means that they should apply safe and eco-friendly pesticides around and inside the property to keep pests away as much as possible. Treatments can be done seasonally.
Landlords are also responsible for keeping the property pest-free before the tenants move in. They should eliminate pests when the property is near a pest-prone area or if an infestation happened due to natural circumstances. Moreover, landlords should take action right away if tenants inform them about the presence of pests.
Pest Control Measures Expected of a Landlord in Oregon:
- Thoroughly inspect the property and resolve pest problems before tenants move in.
- Resolve issues that can make the home prone to pests. These can include damaged seals, ripped screens, cracks, door or window openings, and other issues that can be entry points for pests.
- Conduct seasonal pest management and take action when tenants report emergencies.
- Deal with pest problems before questioning tenants if they caused the presence of pests.
- Call for all–natural pest control services, except if the tenants are clearly the ones responsible for the pest problem.
The Responsibilities of the Tenants
If the presence of pests is caused by the tenants’ actions, then they have to shoulder the costs of pest control in a rental property. Some of the actions that make tenants responsible are the following:
- Improper sanitation and cleaning, such as not covering trash bins, not following waste disposal regulations, and leaving food out in the open.
- Introducing a lot of moisture in the property, which is the ideal scenario for a pest infestation.
- Presence of fleas because of the tenants’ pets.
Another responsibility of the tenants is to make sure they don’t do anything damaging to the property such as tearing up screens or creating openings. They are also responsible for reporting damages such as these to their landlords. They should also be timely in informing their landlords about the need for pest control services.
Bed Bugs Infestation: Who is Responsible?
Bed bugs are a different case when it comes to pest control in a rental property. Most likely it’s the tenants that brought these pests if the home was free from bed bugs when they moved in, so they should be the ones to find a solution.
Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the landlord if the property has had problems with bed bugs in the first place. If landlords do not take prompt action in dealing with this, they can be sued.
Regardless of whose responsibility it is, here are some tips that can help landlords and tenants manage bed bugs:
- Working with tenants and encouraging them to report pest issues as soon as possible
- Taking action quickly when bed bug infestations have been reported
- Checking nearby properties for the possible presence of bed bugs
- Calling a safe and eco-friendlypest control service or exterminator
- Making sure there is no clutter on the property
- Throwing away old cardboard boxes, magazines, and newspapers
- Washing beddings and clothes and keeping them in plastic bags
- Disinfecting luggage after traveling
- Vacuuming the entire property
- Placing the bed at least 6 inches far from the walls
- Using bedbug-resistant covers and organic pesticides
- Destroying untreatable items infested with bed bugs
What Tenants Can Do If Landlords Do Not Take Action
- Not pay rent
- Take away the pest control expenses from the rental fee
- End the lease agreement and move out
- Take the landlord to court for the pest control expenses and damages to property
If the landlord does not respond when pest control in a rental property is clearly needed, you can deal with the pest infestation before taking action to hold your landlord responsible. It is also recommended to seek advice from a lawyer to make sure that you are doing legit measures. Check out the provisions regarding habitability in a rental property in Oregon just to be sure you are making the proper move.
Organic Pest Control in a Rental Property
Whether you’re a landlord or tenant in Beaverton or anywhere in Oregon, Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control can tackle your pest problems. We specialize in ant infestations and treat rodents, spiders, cockroaches, bed bugs, and other common house pests. If you’re still not sure who is responsible for pest control in a rental property, give me a call today at 503-713-9590 so I can help you with your concern.