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What To Do When You Have Pests in a Rented Home

Pest Defence are here to share with you our comprehensive guide on what to do if you find pests in your rented home.

rented property

Who is responsible for pest control when renting?

This depends on whether your pest problem was caused by existing issues such as holes in the walls, if your tenancy agreement states that your landlord sees the property as ‘fit to live in’ and if the pests were already there before you moved in. In all of these cases, the responsibility lies upon your landlord.

That said, it is the tenants’ responsibility to control pests if there are signs of negligence on their behalf. If the tenant has failed to raise a pest problem to the landlord at the early stages of infestation – where it’s easier to treat extermination – there’s a high chance it’ll spread, leading it to become more damaging to other residents’ health and to the property. Also, if the tenants attract vermin with poor hygiene, such as leaving waste bins open, full and improperly disposed of, it’s within their jurisdiction to resolve the ongoing issues.    

Check your tenancy agreement

Double-check your contract before getting in touch with your landlord and before organising your pest control services. If the agreement between yourself and the landlord clearly states who must take action in the event of a pest infestation, the stated party must comply to what’s there in writing.

In most cases, the document will include a line about it being the landlord’s duty to ensure the property is habitable for all tenants that rent with them. That said, there’s still a chance your agreement will say that either the landlord or tenant are fully responsible for pest control, regardless of what the pest is or how it all started. Always highlight the section in your agreement where it covers pests to avoid a long, drawn out dispute.  

Had pests before you moved into the rented property?

If your agreement doesn’t contain information regarding the event of pest infestation, it’s important to find out whether the pests were already in the property before you moved in. This is always a difficult situation because it’s often the case that the tenant isn’t aware until the infestation has had time to develop, but there’s one thing that always remains the same – it’s the tenant’s responsibility to notify the landlord (it’s also a good idea to take pictures, if you can, of the pest infestation).

mouse in rented house

What can I do if my landlord won’t remove pests?

If your landlord refuses to respond or look into this infestation, you can consult your local council who will send out an environmental health officer to inspect the property and help you find out who is responsible/advise you on how to combat this issue.   

What you can do when your house is infested with pests

In some cases, there’s a chance you can remove the pests in the property yourself but there are pros and cons to this sort of DIY, including:


  • It’s likely to be cheaper
  • You’re in control of the removal methods (‘green alternatives’)
  • Straightforward if the problem is minor


  • You may not find the root of the cause
  • It can be costly if you need to apply another treatment (if it doesn’t work the first time)
  • Some pests are too dangerous and require professional knowledge (rats, mice and squirrels)

cockroaches in house I'm renting

Are housing associations responsible for pest control?

To ensure landlords, housing associations and registered social landlords (RSL) comply with legislation regarding pest infestation, The Pest Control Service work alongside the Environmental Health’s Private Sector Team. As it is the landlords, housing association and RSL’s responsibility to ensure adequate pest proofing has been applied to the property, it’s also likely to be the case that they should also employ a professional to resolve infestations too. If they do not follow legislation, the council can present an enforcement notice and charge them for all professional treatment, legal and admin costs. However, the council are not obligated to offer pest treatments to tenants with private landlords, housing associates or RSL’s.

Are bed bugs the landlord’s responsibility?

If you can prove it was there before you moved in, your landlord will have to sort the problem. It’s always good to check on the day you move into a new property to ensure the beds are free from bed bugs, if you notice small red dots and tiny black insects – it’s likely there’s already an infestation.

If you have been living in a rented property for some time, it’s likely you have brought bed bugs into the home and it will be your responsibility to pay for pest control. If you’re about the leave the property and there’s bed bugs your landlord will use your deposit to pay for professional removal.

Can a landlord evict you if you have bed bugs?

It’s unlikely that a landlord will be able to evict you due to an infestation; the only thing that they might do is amend your lease. If you have bed bugs and have brought them into the property, it’s within your interests to eradicate them.

How long do landlords have to get pests removed?

If it is the landlord’s responsibility to have pests removed, they must do this within a reasonable time period; ideally, as soon as they are able to. A rented home must be fit for human habitation, and therefore, it must remain functional and pest-free.

Keep records of your communication with the landlord

Any important complaints must be kept to-hand and safe. Your records need to include the date of your complaint, a brief explanation and the action that was taken to resolve the issue.

If you want to end your tenancy early

If you have a pest problem that isn’t being adhered to there’s a chance you can end even a fixed-term tenancy early because a clause has been broken within your agreement by the other party or the landlord agrees to ‘surrendering the tenancy’.


For professional pest control services, call Pest Defence today. We have a wealth of experience and a long history of happy customers. Whatever your problem we can tackle it head on to ensure swift pest removal, prevention and excellent aftercare. We operate throughout Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Central London, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping, Halstead, Harlow, Maldon, Outer London, Romford, Southend and Stansted.



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