Your landlord’s pest control responsibilities
The landlord is responsible for the eradication of pests if the infestation is evident at the start of the tenancy. As part of the landlord’s general obligations, the landlord must provide the residential premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness and fit for habitation by the tenant.
For tenants this means it is very important when you first see a property to look for signs of pests such as droppings in cupboards and on floors.
You should also check if the previous tenants owned cats or dogs, as fleas could be breeding in the carpet and may not appear for a couple of months. Note what you see in the condition report as evidence to avoid any disagreements later on.
Negotiate with the landlord for the property to undergo a pest control service before or within the first weeks of your tenancy if you see evidence of pests. Have this written into your rental agreement under the special conditions section of the agreement. If the landlord fails to carry out the agreement to arrange a pest control service, you may argue that they are in breach of the agreement and ask them to remedy the breach.
When pests appear after you move in
If you do not discover the pests until after you move in, then contact the landlord immediately by phone.
It is also a good idea to notify the landlord in writing and attach a copy of the letter to your condition report. Request that the landlord takes steps to eradicate the pests immediately, including a pest control service if necessary.
The sooner you contact the landlord with the problem, the less chance they have to claim that the infestation is a result of your tenancy.
If you and the landlord can’t agree on who is responsible for pest eradication, you can use Fair Trading’s free dispute resolution service. An experienced dispute resolution officer can contact the landlord and help negotiate an agreement. If necessary, the officer may arrange to visit the property and conduct the service onsite. Alternatively you can lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal