Nobody likes to sign a rental agreement only to discover they’re sharing their home with ants, rodents, cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, or worse! 

When tenants rent a property, they expect to be the only residents. Both tenants and landlords may experience problems if there is a pest infestation at a rental property. Pest control will be required if the infestation isn’t managed effectively. Of course, no one wants to foot the bill for pest control if they don’t have to.

If you are a tenant, you must notify a significant pest problem as soon as possible and regularly maintain your home in good shape to reduce the likelihood of an infestation. If you are a landlord, you must ensure that all pest issues are resolved before you place your rental property on the market, regardless of whether you manage the property yourself or through a property manager.

In the unlikely event that a problem arises mid-lease, both sides must communicate openly, considerately, and promptly to avoid the matter spiralling out of hand.

Although landlords must conduct pest inspections at least once a year in some Australian states (especially regarding termites and cockroaches), most people don’t always understand who is responsible for covering the pest control cost. Therefore, our pest control experts at Pest Police decided to clarify the matter.

What Is Pest Control?

A property may experience various infestations and outbreaks. Each one may result from a completely distinct cause from the other. Pests that you can come across include:

  • Termites
  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Wasps
  • Spiders
  • Rats and mice
  • Fleas
  • etc.

The main goal of pest control is to manage or get rid of these pests from the property. There are numerous ways to go about doing this. Nevertheless, being proactive is the simplest course of action. Preventing a problem before it arises is easier than dealing with it after the fact. But if the problem is already there, the only solution is to get the pests off the premises.

Who Is Responsible for Pest Control, the Landlord or the Tenant?

Pests may appear at a property for several different reasons. At any moment throughout the tenancy, an infestation could occur. It may be difficult to pinpoint the guilty party. Most of Australia’s states and territories have ambiguous or flexible pest control laws. Various local authorities will actually have their own regulations about pest control. As a result, many of these councils demand that property owners conduct annual pest control. 

If you are a tenant, below are some ways how you can determine if pest control is within your responsibility:

Check Your Lease Agreement

Look at your lease agreement as a starting point to determine who is in charge of pest control. Many contracts include a provision that specifies who is responsible for pest treatment. The signed contract will then serve as your guidance.

Check the Residential Tenancy Act

Depending on your state, you can refer to the Residential Tenancies Act if your tenancy agreement does not address the pest control issues you are experiencing.

In most cases, if the property was pest-free at the beginning of the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for ensuring it is still free of pests at the end of the tenancy. Although tenants are responsible for handling pest control issues, there are still some circumstances when the landlord may need to become involved.

Tenant Pest Control Responsibilities

The general day-to-day maintenance of the property is the responsibility of the tenants. The landlord is not liable for things like cleaning. Additionally, the tenant is responsible for the appliances’ safety and any outlets belonging to the landlord.

The tenant must ensure that their living circumstances won’t lead to any foreseeable issues. For instance, leaving food lying around the house and residing in an unclean environment might result in pests, which are simple to foresee.

When Do Tenants Cover Pest Control Costs?

The tenant pays for pest control when their conduct directly or indirectly contributes to the pest issue.

It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay the cost of pest control in situations where the source of the pest problem can be easily connected to the tenant’s negligence or activities (and you can typically identify the cause fairly quickly).

An increase in pest issues is possible if the tenant owns a pet. Since pets are usually their hosts, fleas are frequently associated with them, but your pet’s food and water bowls are also one of the main sources of pest attraction.

The bowls for the dogs supply two of the three essentials that pests seek out most in a human home: food and water. Speaking of fleas, they get all three from their host’s blood and soft fur. The tenant is ultimately responsible in those circumstances. If the tenant plans to rent the property with their pet (cat or dog), the tenancy agreement will often make this extremely apparent.

Landlord Pest Control Responsibilities

The landlord must maintain the exterior and structural integrity of the building. They are also in charge of ensuring that everything on the property operates appropriately (things like electricity, water, gas, etc.). If the landlord owns any appliances, they are also accountable for them.

Before a new tenant moves in, a landlord should ensure the apartment is clean and in good condition.

When Do Landlords Cover Pest Control Costs?

In all Australian states, it is the landlord’s responsibility to deal with any pest problems that can endanger the structure of the building. Although this is technically solely a termite issue, other wood-eating insects may also be involved, including carpenter ants, carpenter bees, wasps, and Australian wood cockroaches.

Covering all bases is a wise practice, even if the law doesn’t mandate it, because woodworms might also be an issue. You’ll be able to discover other potential wood pests during a routine termite check which is required once a year.

It is also the landlord’s responsibility to fund the cost of the treatment if a pest infestation is found within a month of the new tenant moving in. It’s a good idea to track how frequently and under what circumstances pest infestations are found on the property.

How to Resolve a Pest Issue at Your Rental Property?

Negotiation is the first step in finding a solution that works for everyone. At these early phases, remedial action is frequently possible. In severe circumstances, if you cannot reach an agreement, any party may request a decision from the relevant state tribunal.

What to do if a disagreement arises?

  • Talk to Your Landlord or Property Manager as Soon as Possible – Call or arrange a meeting with your landlord or property manager to discuss the problem as soon as possible. Doing this will set the scene for a positive working relationship.

If you have to provide precise times and dates of when things occurred, keeping emails and taking notes of any spoken conversations can be helpful.

  • Document the Pest Control Issue With Photographs – Take pictures of the pest control problem to document it. Using a smartphone will also allow you to log the dates and times that problems occur.
  • Consult the Appropriate Government Agencies if You Require Assistance – If you need more assistance, get in touch with the tenancy tribunal in your state; they’re a terrific resource and will cost you nothing.

How to Prevent Pest Infestation in Rental Properties?

With pest infestation being something you cannot avoid, there are ways to prevent it from happening. Below are some ways how you can prevent pest infestation in rental properties: 

Tenant Activity

As a tenant, ensure basic hygiene is practised throughout the property since this is one of the most crucial strategies to lower the likelihood of an infestation. To make the premises less inviting to pests, keep clutter to a minimum, store food items correctly, and dispose of waste properly. Slobby tenants will typically be liable for pest control when the inevitable happens and an infestation emerges. For example, tenants who let rotten food pile up or let debris gather to give a perfect home for vermin.

There may be sufficient grounds for an eviction notice to be issued in some cases if the tenants continuously fail to maintain the property’s cleanliness, resulting in pest or vermin problems.

Install Preventative Measures

The law does not oblige the landlord to implement preventative pest control measures. However, they are expected to maintain the building in a reasonable repair condition. Keeping the property in good condition prevents pests from entering, which is a natural preventative approach. Although termite barriers aren’t required, many landlords choose to instal them because treating a termite infestation is always their responsibility.

Other than keeping the property clean, getting rid of waste appropriately, and not causing damage to the building’s structure, tenants are not obligated to take preventive actions (which could make it more vulnerable to pests). That’s why it’s always a good idea that, as a landlord, you install preventive measures to avoid the worse from happening.


In most circumstances, working out who is responsible for pest control comes down to common sense. Tenants should take care of the property, and landlords should ensure a rental is clear of pests before renting it out. If both parties act reasonably and responsibly, the chances of an infestation are low.

If the worst happens, it’s best to act fast and call the Pest Police team as soon as you suspect your property is suffering from an unwanted infestation or pesky pest problem. 

For the best pest control, pest inspection, and removal services across Melbourne, call Pest Police. We’re as easy to reach as we are to deal with! Either complete the online Enquiry Form or call us on 1800 737 876.