Answering questions about who pays for pest control in your rental property isn’t always easy. That’s because standard rental contracts typically do not address pest control issues adequately. Therefore, we recommend you incorporate extra contracts and addenda into your agreements to address the issue. Having a set of house rules will help you, so establish those before your tenants move in, and make sure everyone understands and is in agreement.
At Golden Gate Real Estate and Management, we have a lot of contractual signatures regarding pest control. Our rental contract states that a tenant must do whatever possible to handle a problem with over the counter supplies. If a tenant has just a few ants or notices a few flies, over the counter products will usually that care of the problem, and that’s a tenant’s responsibility.
Another part of a tenant’s responsibility is cleanliness. Our contract explicitly states that our tenants must maintain the property in reasonably clean condition. There shouldn’t be any build-up of food crumbs or debris left on the floor or in the house that will attract pests. When you provide a clean property including professionally cleaned carpets with receipts and invoices, you’re probably on pretty solid ground if a problem develops. We conduct an initial walk through and we video the property in detail. There’s no question as to the move in condition. We also have the tenant sign this document so we have it in writing that the tenant agrees with the initial property condition.
If there is a major pest problem and a health hazard exists, that type of thing must be dealt with immediately. Talk to the tenant and determine what type of issue is going on. Serious problems will include an infestation of rats or roaches, or maybe there is a wasp nest in the fireplace and the insects are flying down into the living quarters. In scenarios such as these, you need to dispatch pest control immediately to take care of the problem. There is a big potential for liability in these situations, especially if there is a health hazard associated with the pest problem.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at Golden Gate Real Estate and Management if you need help addressing pest situations in your rental contracts, or if you’d like more advice on how to determine who should pay to rectify the situation.