Do Landlords Pay For Exterminators? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a renter dealing with a pest problem, you may be wondering: am I responsible for calling an exterminator, or is that the landlord’s job? Getting rid of pests quickly is important for your comfort and health, so you need a definitive answer.

The short answer is: in most cases, yes, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay for professional pest control and extermination services for their rental properties. However, there are some exceptions and details to be aware of, which we’ll cover in this comprehensive guide.

Landlord Responsibilities for Pest Control

When it comes to pest control, landlords have certain responsibilities that they need to fulfill. These responsibilities are usually determined by the implied warranty of habitability and local landlord-tenant laws. Let’s take a closer look at what these entail.

Implied Warranty of Habitability

The implied warranty of habitability is a legal concept that exists in many jurisdictions. It essentially states that landlords are obligated to provide tenants with a safe and habitable living environment. This includes taking care of any pest infestations that may occur during the tenancy.

While the specific requirements may vary from state to state, landlords generally have a duty to address pest issues that are beyond the tenant’s control. This means that if the infestation is not caused by the tenant’s negligence or failure to keep the property clean, the landlord is responsible for hiring professionals to handle the extermination.

It’s important for landlords to be proactive in dealing with pest problems. Ignoring or delaying treatment can lead to further damage and potential health hazards for tenants. By addressing pest issues promptly, landlords can ensure that their property remains in compliance with the implied warranty of habitability.

Local Landlord-Tenant Laws

In addition to the implied warranty of habitability, local landlord-tenant laws may also dictate the landlord’s responsibilities for pest control. These laws can vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction, so it’s essential for landlords to familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their area.

Some cities or states may have specific requirements for landlords when it comes to pest control. For example, they may require landlords to provide regular pest inspections or establish a protocol for addressing infestations.

Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal consequences for landlords.

To ensure compliance with local regulations, landlords can consult with legal professionals or landlord associations that specialize in rental property management. These resources can provide valuable guidance on the specific responsibilities landlords have regarding pest control.

When Can a Landlord Pass Pest Control Costs to Tenants?

As a landlord, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to pest control. While landlords generally have a duty to provide habitable living conditions for their tenants, the responsibility for pest control expenses can vary depending on specific circumstances.

If the Lease Says Tenants are Responsible

In some cases, the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant may specifically state that the tenant is responsible for pest control costs. This could include regular preventative measures or addressing infestations that occur during the tenant’s occupancy.

If the lease clearly outlines the tenant’s responsibility, the landlord can pass on these costs to the tenant.

However, it is important to note that state and local laws may place limits on the extent to which landlords can transfer pest control expenses to tenants. It is always a good idea to consult local regulations and seek legal advice to ensure compliance.

If the Infestation is Caused by the Tenant

If a pest infestation can be directly attributed to the tenant’s actions or negligence, the landlord may be able to pass on the pest control costs. For example, if the tenant fails to properly dispose of garbage or keeps unsanitary conditions that attract pests, they may be held responsible for the extermination expenses.

It is important for landlords to thoroughly document the infestation and gather evidence to support their claim. This can include photographs, written statements, or reports from professional exterminators.

By providing clear evidence, landlords can make a stronger case for passing on the pest control costs to the tenant.

Remember, it is always advisable to communicate openly with tenants and try to resolve any pest control issues amicably. In some cases, it may be more beneficial for the landlord to cover the costs initially in order to maintain tenant satisfaction and prevent further damage to the property.

For more information on landlord responsibilities and tenant rights regarding pest control, you can visit reputable websites such as Nolo or HUD.

What Should Tenants Do if Landlords Refuse Service?

Dealing with pests can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience for tenants. When landlords refuse to provide proper pest control, it is important for tenants to know their rights and take appropriate action. Here are some steps tenants can take if their landlords refuse to address pest issues:

Send a Written Request for Pest Control

The first course of action for tenants is to send a written request to their landlords for pest control services. It is important to be clear and concise in describing the pest problem and the desired solution.

By putting the request in writing, tenants create a paper trail that can be used as evidence if further action is necessary.

File a Complaint with the Local Housing Authority

If landlords continue to ignore the pest issue, tenants can file a complaint with the local housing authority. The housing authority has the power to investigate and enforce regulations regarding habitability and maintenance of rental properties.

They can issue citations or fines to landlords who fail to address pest problems.

Withhold Rent

In some cases, tenants may have the right to withhold rent if their landlords refuse to provide pest control services. However, it is important to note that this option should be used as a last resort and tenants should consult local laws and regulations before taking this step.

Withholding rent can result in legal consequences, so tenants should proceed with caution.

Break the Lease

If all else fails and the pest problem persists, tenants may consider breaking their lease. This should also be a last resort as breaking a lease can have financial and legal implications. However, in severe cases where the rental property is uninhabitable due to pests, tenants may have grounds to terminate the lease agreement.

Remember, tenants have rights when it comes to living in a safe and pest-free environment. By following the appropriate steps and seeking assistance from local authorities if necessary, tenants can take action against landlords who refuse to provide adequate pest control services.

Preventing Pests in Rental Housing

Pests can be a major headache for both landlords and tenants. Not only can they cause damage to the property and create an unsanitary living environment, but they can also lead to tenant dissatisfaction and potential legal issues.

Preventing pests in rental housing is crucial to maintain a clean and habitable space for tenants. By implementing a few simple strategies, landlords can significantly reduce the risk of infestations and ensure a positive living experience for their tenants.

Cleanliness and Clutter Control

Cleanliness is key when it comes to preventing pests in rental housing. Regular cleaning and maintenance can go a long way in keeping pests at bay. Encourage tenants to keep their living areas clean and free of clutter, as pests are attracted to food crumbs and hidden spaces.

Regularly inspect common areas and address any cleanliness issues promptly. Establishing clear guidelines for cleanliness in the lease agreement can also help ensure that tenants understand their responsibilities in maintaining a pest-free environment.

Sealing Entry Points

Pests can enter rental properties through small cracks and gaps in walls, floors, and windows. To prevent them from gaining access, it’s important to seal all potential entry points. Inspect the property regularly for any openings and promptly seal them off.

This can be done using caulk, weatherstripping, or other appropriate materials. Additionally, consider installing door sweeps and screens on windows to further prevent pests from entering the premises.

Proper Food Storage

Food is a major attractant for pests such as ants, cockroaches, and rodents. Encourage tenants to store food properly to minimize the risk of infestations. Advise them to keep food in sealed containers, clean up spills and crumbs immediately, and dispose of garbage regularly.

Providing guidelines on proper food storage practices in the lease agreement or through informational materials can help educate tenants on best practices.

Landscaping and Drainage

The exterior of the rental property can also play a significant role in preventing pests. Proper landscaping and drainage can minimize the risk of attracting pests like mosquitoes, ants, and rodents. Regularly maintain the landscaping by trimming bushes and shrubs away from the property and removing any standing water sources.

Ensuring proper drainage away from the building can also help prevent moisture buildup, which can attract pests.

By implementing these preventive measures, landlords can significantly reduce the likelihood of pests in rental housing. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, despite best efforts, pests may still appear.

In such situations, it is generally the responsibility of the landlord to address the issue and hire professional exterminators if necessary. Landlords should familiarize themselves with local laws and regulations regarding pest control to ensure compliance and timely resolution of pest-related issues.

Handling Specific Pest Infestations


Roaches are a common pest problem that can be quite difficult to eliminate. If you are dealing with a roach infestation in your rental property, it is important to take action quickly. In most cases, the responsibility for exterminating roaches falls on the landlord.

Landlords are typically responsible for maintaining a habitable living environment for their tenants, which includes addressing pest control issues. However, it is always a good idea to check your lease agreement to see if there are any specific provisions regarding pest control.

There are several methods that can be used to get rid of roaches, including baiting, trapping, and using insecticides. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the exterminator and take any necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both tenants and the property.

Mice and Rats

Mice and rats can cause significant damage to a rental property and pose health risks to tenants. Dealing with a mouse or rat infestation is typically the responsibility of the landlord. They should hire a professional exterminator to address the problem and take steps to prevent future infestations, such as sealing any entry points and keeping the property clean and free of food sources.

If you are a tenant dealing with mice or rats, it is important to notify your landlord as soon as possible so they can take appropriate action. It is also a good idea to keep your living space clean and free of clutter to minimize the risk of attracting rodents.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a nightmare for both landlords and tenants. These tiny insects can quickly spread throughout a property and are notoriously difficult to eliminate. In most cases, the responsibility for treating a bed bug infestation falls on the landlord.

They should hire a professional exterminator experienced in treating bed bugs and take steps to prevent future infestations.

Tenants can also play a role in preventing the spread of bed bugs by keeping their living space clean and reporting any signs of infestation to the landlord immediately. It is important to remember that bed bugs can easily hitch a ride on clothing or furniture, so it is crucial to address the problem promptly.


Ants are a common pest problem that can quickly become a nuisance in a rental property. The responsibility for dealing with an ant infestation can vary depending on the circumstances and the terms of the lease agreement.

In some cases, the landlord may be responsible for hiring an exterminator to address the problem. In other cases, the tenant may be responsible for taking care of the infestation themselves.

If you are a tenant dealing with an ant problem, it is important to notify your landlord so they can determine the appropriate course of action. There are also several DIY methods that can be used to control ants, such as using ant baits or natural remedies like vinegar and peppermint oil.


Cockroaches are another common pest that can be a major headache for landlords and tenants alike. The responsibility for exterminating cockroaches typically falls on the landlord, as they are responsible for maintaining a habitable living environment for their tenants.

However, it is important to review the terms of your lease agreement to determine who is responsible for pest control.

There are various methods that can be used to eliminate cockroaches, including insecticides, traps, and baits. It is important to work with a professional exterminator to develop an effective treatment plan and take preventive measures to ensure the infestation does not recur.


Fleas can be a major nuisance, especially for tenants with pets. Dealing with a flea infestation is typically the responsibility of the landlord, as they are responsible for maintaining a habitable living environment.

They should hire a professional exterminator to address the problem and take steps to prevent future infestations.

If you are a tenant dealing with fleas, it is important to notify your landlord so they can take appropriate action. You should also take steps to treat your pets for fleas and keep your living space clean to minimize the risk of reinfestation.


In summary, landlords are generally responsible for providing professional pest control services to eliminate infestations, unless the lease explicitly states otherwise or the tenant caused the problem.

Tenants should notify landlords of any pest issues in writing and can take further action if the landlord still refuses service. Preventing infestations through cleanliness and maintenance is ideal. We hope this guide gave you a better understanding of renters’ rights and options for getting rid of pests!

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