Are Landlords Responsible For Pest Control In California?
As a tenant in California, you need to know your rights when renting. These include what you should and should not do if the home you are leasing has a pest problem.
But are landlords responsible for pest control in California? In case the home you are renting has a serious pest problem, here are some important and useful facts you should know about this particular issue:
The rental property should be fully habitable before a tenant moves in
Under California law, a rental property must be completely suitable for human habitation when a tenant moves in. If the house or unit has some bugs or rodents, it renders the property uninhabitable.
If you discover the property has bugs or rats during your move-in day, this is a violation of this law. In this situation, you have the option to not move in and get your security deposit back. Another option would be to ask your landlord to get rid of the pests before you move in and officially begin your lease.
The landlord is responsible for pest control if an infestation is not caused by the tenant
When roaches, ants, and rodents enter the property through a small hole or crack on the wall, this infestation becomes your landlord’s responsibility to eliminate.
By California law, landlords are responsible for eliminating pests in a professional manner if this method is necessary for the unit to comply with local health codes. This means they can pay for professional pest control if DIY means are not successful in getting rid of your insect problem.
If the landlord does not want to take responsibility for a no-fault infestation, there are actions you can take
In case you already informed your landlord about the pest problem on your property and he or she does not take action, you can:
- Hire an exterminator and subtract the cost from your rent payment
- Refuse to pay rent until the problem is resolved
- Terminate the lease
It is important that you have evidence of your pest problems. Use photos of furniture and food items damaged by the pests. You can also get a home inspection report or a statement from an exterminator as proof of your serious pest problem which your landlord may be ignoring.
You are deemed responsible for pest control if you caused the infestation
According to California Civil Code Section 1941.2, if the tenant’s actions are responsible for the pest infestation that renders the property uninhabitable, the tenant will have to take responsibility for removal of the insects. In this instance, the landlord is not responsible for insect removal and necessary repairs since there is no breach of the habitability clause.
As a tenant, you may accidentally bring or attract pests to the property you are renting by:
- Bringing bed bugs from your out-of-town or out-of-country travels. You may have stayed in a hotel room with bed bugs and these insects may have climbed into your luggage. Once you open your luggage, the bugs will remain and multiply in your home.
- Leaving food out and not keeping the property clean, your home is susceptible to a pest infestation.
Both you and your landlord have the responsibility of keeping your rented property pest-free. It is best to communicate with your landlord immediately if you have any bug or rodent problems. Also should agree on the best course of action to prevent this issue from worsening.
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