Pest infestation in rented accommodation

Depending on the situation, either you or your landlord could be responsible for a pest infestation in your home, find out more about who is responsible for your pest problem.

Find out more about what environmental health issues are and the steps that you can take. Our lawyers are here to assist you, get in touch today on 0161 697 5959 to find out more about how we can assist you.

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How to make a claim for Pest infestation?

You should first notify your landlord of the pest infestation that you are experiencing and allow them a reasonable time to investigate and resolve the issue. If your landlord has failed to rectify the issue or even try to then you are within your rights to start a housing disrepair claim against your landlord.

If you are having such problems then contact us and we can offer you expert legal advice on a no-win no fee basis. We will assess the circumstances and advise on the likelihood that the pest or vermin is your responsibility or your landlord’s and thus, whether you have grounds to bring a housing disrepair claim. If you do and you decide to go ahead with it then we will take your claim through the Pre-Action protocol process and keep you informed along the way. We will help you make a claim for any repairs that need doing if that is causing the pest or vermin to enter. We will also help you make a claim for compensation for your distress, financial loss and illness that you may have suffered. Use our housing disrepair calculator to check how much compensation you may win.

You could of course start the claim yourself but we always recommend you have legal representation to fight your corner and advise you along the way. With it being no win no fee there is nothing for you to pay if you do not succeed and if you do, then we only deduct a portion of your compensation so you don’t pay anything upfront, only at the end if you win and the amount we deduct will have been agreed with you

Who is responsible for a pest infestation?

This depends on the specific circumstances of the case. In some cases, the landlord or property owner may be responsible for controlling a pest infestation. The landlord’s responsibility for pest control will depend on the specific terms of the rental agreement and applicable laws and regulations. In general, however, landlords are typically responsible for maintaining the rental property in a habitable and safe condition, which may include taking steps to prevent and control pest infestations.

For example, if the infestation is due to a problem with the building or its surroundings, such as a failure to seal up entry points or maintain the property, the landlord or property owner may be responsible for controlling the infestation.
In other cases, the tenant may be responsible for preventing and controlling a pest infestation in their home. For example, if the infestation is due to the tenant’s failure to keep their home clean and free of sources of sustenance for pests, they may be responsible for controlling the infestation.

If the infestation is due to a problem with the community or local environment, such as a mosquito infestation caused by a nearby pond, the local government or other authorities may be responsible for controlling the infestation.


The responsibility for pest infestations is therefore not always clear cut. If you are living in rented accommodation and have a pest infestation then feel free to contact our specialist housing disrepair solicitors who can advise you further.

Live in Furnished Accommodation

If you live in a furnished rented property and the pest infestation problem was there before you moved in for a living. It may be your landlord’s responsibility to deal with it.

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that your home is habitable on the date they give it to you. This could be a sign that your landlord is not fulfilling their duty. However, this applies only at the beginning of a tenancy. It wouldn’t apply later if there was a problem.

Are tenants responsible for dealing with the infestation?

Suppose the pest infestation is due to the tenant’s actions, such as a failure to keep the rental unit clean and free of sources of sustenance for pests. In that case, the tenant may be responsible for controlling the infestation. In this case, the landlord may be able to require the tenant to take appropriate steps to control the infestation.

What are the Different Types of Pest Infestation?

There are several signs that may indicate the presence of pests in your home:

Sightings of the pests themselves: Seeing the pests, whether alive or dead, is often the most obvious sign of an infestation.

Droppings: Most pests, such as mice and rats, leave droppings behind as they move around. These droppings can be a clear sign that there are pests.

Damage to food or other items: Pests can damage food and other household items. You may see chewed holes in packaging, furniture or wires etc.

Unusual smells: Some pests leave a smell, which is often a sign that they are present. Cockroaches for example can produce a strong, musty smell. Rats and mice often have an ammonia (urine) smell.

Nests: Many pests, such as birds and rodents, build nests to live and reproduce. These are often more difficult to find as they are usually hidden in places you don’t normally see, such as behind cluttered storage areas or ceiling voids.

Noise: Some pests, such as rats and mice, can make noise as they move around in walls and attics.

Unusual behaviour by pets: Sometimes, pets can sense the presence of pests and may behave unusually as a result. For example, a cat may seem unusually interested in a certain area of a room or may stare at a spot in a room.

Health problems: Some pests, such as ticks and mosquitoes, can cause health problems in humans and animals. If you or your pets are experiencing unusual health problems, it is possible that pests may be a part of the problem.

What is a pest infestation?

A pest infestation is defined as animals or insects that can cause destruction to your home and more often than not, affect your health. Infestations can cause damage to property, spread diseases, and be a nuisance to people living or working in the affected area. Pests can be very difficult to control, and it is often necessary to use a combination of methods, such as chemical treatments, physical barriers, and traps.

What are the Different Types of Pest Infestation?

There are many different types of pest infestations, and the type of infestation will depend on the type of pest you have. Some common types of pest infestations include:

Insect infestations: Insects such as ants, cockroaches, and flies are common pests that can infest homes.

Rodent infestations: Rodents such as mice and rats can cause damage to buildings and spread diseases.

Bird infestations: Birds such as pigeons and sparrows can cause damage to buildings and carry infectious diseases such as salmonella and tuberculosis.

Bed bug infestations: Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They can be difficult to control and can cause skin irritation and other health problems.

Termite infestations: Termites are insects that feed on wood and can cause serious damage to buildings.

Mosquito infestations: Mosquitoes are insects that can transmit various dangerous and infectious diseases.

Tick infestations: Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that can attach themselves to humans and animals and transmit diseases such as Lyme disease.

Flea infestations: Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They can cause irritation and other health problems.

Can I get rid of a pest infestation?

Quite often it is possible to get rid of a pest infestation by taking the appropriate control measures. The specific steps you should take will depend on the type of pest and the severity of the infestation. Some common methods of pest control include:

Chemical treatments: Pesticides and other chemical treatments can be effective at eliminating pests. It is important to follow the instructions on carefully when using chemical treatments so that they are used safely and effectively.

Physical barriers: Physical barriers such as door sweeps, weather stripping and screens can help prevent pests from entering a building.

Traps: Traps can be used to capture and remove pests from your home. There are many different types of traps available, such as live traps, glue traps and snap traps.

Habitat modification: Making changes to the environment can help deter pests from entering or staying in your home. For example, sealing up holes and cracks in walls and foundations can help prevent pests from entering.

If the infestation is severe or if you are unable to control the pests on your own, it is advisable to call a professional pest control company for assistance as they will have the experience and be more effective.

How do I prevent a pest infestation?

Preventing infestations in the first place is the best practice. There are several steps you can take to prevent a pest infestation in your home. Ways in which you can prevent pest infestation from occurring include:

Keeping your home clean: Pests are attracted to food and other sources of sustenance, so keeping your home clean can help prevent an infestation. This includes regularly cleaning up spills and crumbs, not leaving the dirty dishes out and taking out the rubbish.

Store food properly: Properly storing food can help prevent pests from finding a source of sustenance in your home. This includes keeping food in sealed containers, regularly cleaning the refrigerator and pantry, and properly disposing of waste food and leftovers.

Seal up entry points: Pests often enter a building through small openings, such as cracks in walls and foundations. Sealing up these openings means there is no route of access for the pests to enter your home.

Use physical barriers: Physical barriers such as weather strips, screens and door sweeps can help prevent pests from entering your home.

Keep outdoor areas clean: Pests are attracted to clutter and debris, so keeping outdoor areas clean can help deter them from frequenting your garden and subsequently entering your home.

Use pesticides and other chemical treatments: As above, chemical treatments such as pesticides can help prevent pests from entering or living in your home. However, it is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully when using these products.

What Are The Negative Implications Of Pest Infestations

Aside from the obvious of giving most people the “heebie-jeebies” having pests and vermin in your home can be, and often is, dangerous to your home and your health.

Pest infestations can cause damage to your property and spread diseases and harmful bacteria. Types of damage can include

damage to the structure of your home such as damage to the timber (wood).

They can also electrical damage when mice and rats chew on the electric cables. Your furniture can be damaged too as pests and vermin chew holes into them allowing them to burrow into it. They will also leave behind dropping and urine, which will smell and transmit disease. These are just some of the common examples.

What is the Landlord’s responsibility for pest control?

The landlord’s responsibility for pest control will depend on the specific terms of the rental agreement and applicable laws. In general, however, landlords are typically responsible for maintaining the rental property in a habitable and safe condition, which may include taking steps to prevent and control pest infestations.

For example, if the infestation is due to a problem with the building or its surroundings, such as a failure to seal up entry points or maintain the property, the landlord or property owner may be responsible for controlling the infestation.

What is Tenant’s responsibility for pest control?

If the infestation is due to the tenant’s failure to keep their home clean and free of sources of sustenance for pests, they may be responsible for controlling the infestation.

For example, you regularly leave food waste and rubbish lying around attracting vermin.

Pest Control and who is responsible

Mice infestationsare often the result of a systemic problem that is affecting a terrace of houses, or possibly a block of flats. Simply put, mice do not fly and surely do not appear from thin air. The reality is that mice first need to get in a home before they pose a problem to the tenant.

Mice will normally get in through holes and gaps that have been left by the original builder and kitchen fitter. The cause of the mouse infestation would then be the building that was not built to sufficient standards so as to stop mice from getting in.

However, the landlord may claim the tenants are responsibleif the tenants fail to implement the advice of the pest control company, or by arguing that their behaviour may have contributed to the mice infestation (e.g., cluttered, unkempt tenancy).

Some tenancy agreements place the responsibility of pest control on the tenants. But in any case, it should be limited to the treatment only.

To remediate the situation, the landlord would then need to make good on the holes that had allowed mice to get in and have the home thoroughly mouse proofed.

Before they reach your home, rats may already have travelled over 300 m from the nest. They may have travelled above ground, from one garden to the next. Or they may have followed the sewer system and escaped through some faults.

If a rat infestationis found only outdoors, there is probably little that can be done but place rat bait stations. The council pest control department may have a free rat service; if not, the landlord would most likely have to pay for it.

If the rat problem is within the living space of the property, the landlord must implement the rodent pest exclusion work needed to stop rats from getting in as a matter of urgency. It is unacceptable to have rats being able to access freely any part of the living space.

If faults are found below ground on the property, responsibility to investigate and, if necessary, to repair falls on either a service company (i.e., Thames Water) or possibly on one of London’s councils.

However, the cost of placing a rat blocker in your inspection chamber to stop the rats from reaching the building will be the responsibility of the landlord or freeholder.

Bed bugs are introduced into the property by the tenants. They may be picked up on the London public transport, at work, a sleepover or during a holiday.

Another major route of entry is by introducing infested second-hand furniture or items into the home. If the landlord brought it in, then the landlord is responsible for pest control.

So, the person responsible for the treatment would normally be the person who has introduced the bed bugs into the property. This is not always clear-cut, though, as bed bug infestations often go unnoticed for many weeks, possibly even months.

If the problem was introduced before the tenancy, you would expect the tenants to take notice of signs possibly within weeks, arguably within six months, and definitely within a year.

So, the longer the tenancy before the bed bug activity was reported, the more likely they would have been introduced during the ongoing tenancy, and therefore the stronger the argument for the tenants having to pay.

In borderline cases, it would be acceptable to reach a compromise where the tenants would pay part of the treatment (since they introduced it by accident) and the landlord part of it (since they have an incentive in protecting the flat).

If it is established that a building has been contaminated as a whole, then the tenants cannot be held responsible. The landlord will most likely have to pay for the treatment within their flat, and the freeholder will have to pay for the treatment carried out at communal area level.

Moths are flying insectsand could well have flown in from the communal areas or through the window.

Tenants would often report moths because they are concerned about their clothes, or because they found damaged items in their wardrobes.

Once again, time is of the essence. If the tenants just moved in and there are patches of moth-eaten carpet, it points the finger toward the landlord.

If the tenant is a long-standing one, and there are no signs of moth-eaten carpet, it gives strength to the moths having been introduced during the tenancy.

In practice, we see at Inoculand Pest Control that landlords often pay for moth infestation treatments as they are concerned that moths may damage and depreciate their property.

Cockroach infestationsmay originate from a systemic problem, or from an infested neighbouring property.

It is also possible that the tenant could have unknowingly brought in some cockroaches with the shopping or other contaminated items.

If the neighbouring property has clearly been established as being the origin of the outbreak, it is unlikely that they will pay for your treatment unless they have some sort of home insurance.

In most instances, the landlord would pay for the treatment. Exceptionally, the block management company takes responsibility if the infestation affects the building as a whole.

The tenants may be held responsible if they failed to report the problem at an early stage or if their behaviour contributed to the cockroach infestation (e.g., using residential premises for a catering business without any pest control measures in place).

Wasps are seasonal pests. Landlords or tenants cannot be blamed for any wrongdoing. Wasp nests just happen.
In this case, the tenancy agreement should determine who is responsible for it. And if there are no specific pest control clauses, the landlord will probably pay without arguing.

In case the nest is found within an unauthorised or inappropriate item or structure on the property grounds, such as a mound of rubble or tyres, the tenant will likely have to pay to treat the nest and to remove the offending items from the property grounds.

The best way to solve a fly problemis to remove the condition that is allowing them to thrive. A treatment will only kill off the flies while the pesticides are active. And if the favourable conditions remain, the infestation will return.

House flies and fruit flies are often associated with poor housekeeping that would normally be the responsibility of the tenant.

Unless the landlord is responsible for the issue/situation that triggered or provided the right condition for the flies to thrive, landlords should not be asked to pay for fly control involving fruit flies and house flies.

Drain flies are often caused by leaky or blocked drains that would normally need to be fixed by the landlord in the first place. Blue bottle flies result from a dead animal that would have died underneath the home, within the fireplace or the walls. In either case, the tenant should not be held responsible.

Fleas are mostly associated with pets. And often the landlords will ask the tenants to foot the bill because they own a furry pet (e.g., rodents, cats, dogs).

In cases where the tenants do not own pets, it raises the question of how the infestation came about. Foxes in the garden or rodents indoors (mice, rats) can be a reservoir of infestation. If no link to the tenants can be established, then the landlord will normally have to pay.

There are many types of beetlesaffecting either dry food or natural fibres.

Biscuit beetles and other SPI that affect dry food brought in through the shopping and Domestic beetles linked to poor housekeeping should be dealt with by the tenants.

Responsibility for carpet beetles is similar to that outlined in the moth section.

 Larder beetle infestations can also be linked to bird nests, in which case, the responsibility may fall to the landlord.

Tropical ants are very much a problem that is endemic to the structure of a building and that is being passed on from neighbour-to-neighbour as satellite nests are created. Normally landlords pay for the treatment.

Garden antsnormally come from the garden areas and are not a public health pest. Responsibility in this case is not always clear-cut and depends on the type of tenancy agreement.

Grey squirrels in the garden area are part of the wildlife and there is very little that can be done in this context. Landlords would probably not feel obliged to do anything about it.

Squirrels in lofts are linked to access points that were left by the roofers/builders, and landlords should be responsible for this.

Are local council’s responsible for pest control?

If you live in social housing and the local council is your landlord then just like private landlords, they will be responsible for pest control if the problem has occurred because of a repair issue or if it is causing a risk to your health or safety.

Local councils do not have a legal obligation to provide pest control treatments to tenants of private landlords or housing associations, even if they are receiving housing benefits or council tax benefit.

Some local authorities do offer their own pest control services, although there will still usually be a charge for these services. If your landlord is responsible for the infestation, they will be liable for the costs. Your landlord can choose whether to use the council’s services if they provide them or to hire their own pest control contractor.

Your local authority does also have the power to take action in relation to pest infestations if your landlord fails to do so.

Can I withhold rent for Pest Infestation problems?

In general, it is not advisable to withhold rent because of pest problems. Rent withholding is a serious step that should only be taken as a last resort after other attempts to resolve the issue have failed.

Instead, you should inform your landlord of the pest problem and give them a reasonable amount of time to address the issue. If they do not take action, you may have the legal right to terminate the lease or seek other remedies through the courts. Contact our experts they will help and guide you, on what next you can do.