Who is responsible for pest fumigation?

Question from Ashleigh updated on 11th September 2009:

We have just moved into a rental property a little over a month ago. However the property is infested with a very large number of ants. I can put a dish of cat food down to find a swarm of ants covering the dish within half an hour. The same applies if someone spills toothpaste on the bathroom basin. Is this something I should be asking my landlord to fix, or is this my responsibility?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Responsibility for infestations or fumigating a house is not specifically covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), and depends on the circumstances in each case. Where an infestation is found at the start of a tenancy and fumigation is needed, it may be considered the landlord’s responsibility as they should provide the property in a reasonably clean and tidy condition. If a tenant fails to keep the property reasonably clean and tidy and attract vermin or an infestation, then they may be responsible for fumigation.

I suggest you speak to your landlord to seek agreement on who will pay for an initial fumigation, and who will cover the cost of any future fumigation, if necessary. If you and your landlord can’t agree, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter. To discuss your situation further, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.



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