Are Landlords Responsible For Pest Control?

April 20, 2024

Pest control responsibility in rental properties is a crucial aspect of landlord-tenant agreements, yet it’s often a gray area. Understanding who bears the burden of addressing pest infestations is essential for both landlords and tenants to maintain habitable living conditions and prevent disputes. Questions like “are landlords responsible for pest control?” or “do landlords pay for pest control?” are common among tenants, highlighting the need for clarity in lease agreements. 


Pest Control Responsibility


In New Jersey, the responsibility for pest control typically falls on landlords, especially if the presence of pests is due to structural issues or negligence in maintaining a habitable environment. Landlords are obligated to provide tenants with a residence that meets health and safety standards, which includes addressing pest infestations. However, tenants are expected to maintain cleanliness and report any pest problems promptly. Legal obligations regarding pest control can vary based on lease agreements and local ordinances, so it’s advisable for both landlords and tenants to clarify responsibilities in writing to avoid disputes.


Laws on Pest Control in New Jersey


In New Jersey, there are several laws and regulations that pertain to pest control on rental properties. Some of the key laws include:


  • New Jersey State Sanitary Code: This code outlines the standards for habitability and cleanliness in rental properties, including requirements related to pest control.
  • New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Law (N.J.S.A. 46:8-1 et seq.): This law governs the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, including obligations regarding the maintenance of rental properties, which can encompass pest control.
  • Local Ordinances: Many municipalities in New Jersey have their own ordinances that may address specific requirements or guidelines for pest control in rental properties.


These laws collectively establish the framework for addressing pest control issues in rental properties throughout the state.


Tenant Responsibilities


Tenants are responsible for maintaining cleanliness to prevent pest infestations in their rented premises. They should dispose of garbage properly, keep food stored securely, and promptly report any signs of pests to the landlord. Tenants must allow landlords or pest control professionals access to the property for inspections and treatments as needed. While landlords are generally responsible for addressing pest issues caused by structural problems, tenants play a crucial role in preventing infestations through proper hygiene and cooperation with pest control efforts. Additionally, if the landlord can prove that an infestation was caused by the tenant, the tenant may be held responsible for the cost of extermination. 


Landlord Responsibilities


In New Jersey, landlords have the primary responsibility for ensuring their rental properties are free from pest infestations. They must maintain the premises in a habitable condition, which includes addressing any pest problems caused by structural issues or negligence. Landlords are typically required to take prompt action upon receiving notice of a pest issue from tenants, arranging for inspections and necessary treatments by licensed pest control professionals. It’s the landlord’s duty to provide a safe and healthy living environment, complying with all relevant health and safety standards and addressing pest control concerns in a timely manner. Aside from infestations, landlords are also responsible for general upkeep of pest prevention measures, including scheduling seasonal, monthly, or bi-monthly inspections with a pest control professional, during which all preventative pest control measures such as bait stations and barriers are revitalized. 


Does It Matter What Kind of Pest It Is?


The responsibility for pest control in a rental property is generally not affected by the type of pest infestation. Landlords are typically responsible for addressing all types of pest problems, whether it’s rodents, insects, or other pests. Their obligation stems from maintaining habitable living conditions and ensuring the property meets health and safety standards. However, lease agreements and local ordinances may provide additional details or exceptions, so it’s essential for both landlords and tenants to understand their respective responsibilities regarding pest control regardless of the type of infestation.


How much does residential pest control cost?


The cost of pest control varies depending on factors such as the type of pest, the severity of the infestation, and the size of the property. For common pests like ants or roaches, one-time treatments can range from $100 to $300, while more extensive infestations or recurring treatments may cost several hundred dollars or more. Bed bug treatments can be more expensive, typically ranging from $300 to $1,500 or more depending on the size of the property and the extent of the infestation. Prices may also vary between different pest control companies and regions within New Jersey.


Clarity on pest control responsibilities is vital for harmonious landlord-tenant relationships. While laws may guide, specific agreements should be clear. For professional assistance, contact Twin-Boro for residential or commercial pest control services tailored to your needs. Let’s keep your property pest-free together.


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