Who pays? pest control

In response to:http://www.somersoft.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61178

I have recently been told by my PM that I am responsible for removing a wasps nest which has recently setup in the front yard of my IP during the course of a tenancy. Also, that I am responsible for removing a mouse which has apparently taken up residence. Is this right? It really doesn't seem right to me. If this is the case, am I as the landlord responsible for removing any snakes, possums, dogs, annoying visitors that may stray onto the property? I remember being a tenant myself and setting the odd mouse trap. Should I have simply called the landlord?

I can only give a QLD perspective on this - but commonsense should prevail.

Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodations Act 2008 -
s128 Lessor's Obligations
ss128(3)While the continues, the lessor
(a) must maintain the premises in a way that the premises remain fit for the tenant to live in; and...
(a) must ensure any law dealing with the issues about the health and safety of persons using or entering the premises is complied with....

Properties that are under management using PAMD20a Essential Terms and Conditions (page 9) Clause 4.14 have the property treated for pests as required (no more than annually) at eh Lessor's cost...

OK, legally, you have to ensure the property is "fit to live in"
wasp - you need to get rid of it at your cost.
Why? It is during the course of the lease, it is not a direct result of the way the tenants live (if you have your property "properly" treated once a year, there would be enough active ingredients to ensure wasps do not take residence under your eaves.) There is the potential to be stung - and as other's have mentioned how litigious our society is at present - take the worst case scenario - the person who got stung has an allergic reaction?? Complete devil's advocate - but who knows...do you want to take the risk? As an owner of the property, the tenants have notified the agent, the agent has notified you - if you fail to take action - that's your choice.

Mouse in house - depends on where the mouse came from.Legally, the above scenario also applies here.
However, you need to look at the situation and get it in writing from the pest controller what the cause was...
1. Tenant was cause
For example, they have created conducive conditions - keep birds/chickens as pets or have compost in backyard.

Well, in this case - I would let the tenants know why the mouse was in the house. If I sent a pest controller out to do the wasp and bait the mouse, I would bill them for the mouse part of the invoice.

2. Tenant not cause

There are instances where your tenants are not the cause of the vermin problem. For example, they may live beside people who have birds/chickens as pets and maintain compost or have other pets and leave food outside....these again create highly conducive conditions for vermin. So if one strayed onto your property, it's not your tenants fault - and if you don't treat it, they have the right to lodge a complaint against you for breach of the section above.

Best practice:

Have your property professionally treated once a year - ask for a warranty (normally about 6 months)
Tenancy lengths average 11 months (RTA stats) so tenants do general pest at end of lease - make them get pest controller who will provide 6 month warranty as well.
Effectively then, your property should receive two treatments a year - and you shouldn't have this problem.

What generally happens in the industry:
1. Owners don't want to pay for pest control (property manager's fault for not educating owners about benefits).
2. property managers and agencies do not have pest management plans in place for their properties - so they only ever react when there is a problem, and I have seen many times over (and many owners would've experienced this) that they get second and third bills for pest control when most of the time - they can and should call upon the warranty of the first service...if they had bothered to use a proper pest controller.

Don't get upset that you have to pay for pest control, if you have good tenants - you want to keep them happy as well.

This is just my opinion and how I operate - everyone is different and State laws vary but commonsense should prevail.
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Don't get upset that you have to pay for pest control, if you have good tenants - you want to keep them happy as well.

Yeah, well, depends on your strict definition of "good" and "happy" really doesn't it. Any tenant that rings me up and has a whinge about a mouse or an ant or a bee is automatically struck off the "good tenants" list....regardless if they are paying me 3% or one of the great ones who cough up 4% gross rent.

In my experience "happy" can turn to vindicative in about 5 seconds flat.

This is just my opinion and how I operate - everyone is different and State laws vary but commonsense should prevail.

A PM's opinion carries no weight. How a PM operates carries no weight. People's different views and personalities carries no weight. Commonsense certainly carries no weight and certainly does not prevail. This is litigous "I know my rights !!!" 2010, not some commonsense 1930 merryground.

The only thing that carries any weight whatsoever is the applicable State law....and as can be seen in the various RTA's around the country, the Landlord is squarely in the sling for everything.

The only reason these questions keep getting asked repeatedly over the years on forums is because ;

1. Most Landlords are trying to use their commonsense.
2. Most Landlords refuse to fully read and understand the legislation that governs the conduct and management and dispute resolution within the confines of the asset that they selected.


On the other hand, if you select assets that do not fall under that particularly nasty piece of ill-written legislation, a Landlord may pop this type of thing in the Lease. It's crystal clear, with little room for ambiguity, and usually prevents silly phone calls and whinging to the Landlord in the first place.

Pest Control

The Tenant shall take reasonable precautions to establish and then subsequently maintain the Leased Premises for the duration of the Term, and any authorised option period, free of cockroaches, insects, white ants, termites, rodents and other vermin and, if necessary, shall employ and pay the fees of professional pest controllers to eradicate the pests from the Leased Premises forthwith.

Anyway, I'm not a qualified PM, so I will defer to their greater knowledge.
>>(if you have your property "properly" treated once a year, there would be enough active ingredients to ensure wasps do not take residence under your eaves.)<<

Wasp treatments do not come under your standard yearly pest treatment. If you get your general yearly treatment for cockys and silverfish this will not cover you for wasps, ants, spiders etc.

Also active ingredients do not last for a long period in outdoor conditions, they break down quickly with the eliments and depending on what is used the manufacturer usually gives only a 3 month warranty so what ever they give is all that can be passed on.

There is a big difference in how treatments are done by Pest Managers. If the job is done properley using different methods and not just a quick spray and go then the pest treatment will last well over a year. It is good to get the property treated yearly and easier and more thorough to do while vacant... usually a discount is given too on vacant properties.

A lot of landlords/agents just want a quick cheap job because its a rental but they need more attention and good quality low/no odour products as you dont know who will be living there. Someone with allergies or pregnant could move in so its better to pay for quality work.

There are also different grades of chemicals that can be used and a lot of pesties use the crap stuff that smells terrible but costs a fraction of the quality products.
External treatments are definately affected by the elements - and a lot of comanies will only give three months if any - but the active ingredients sprayed under the eaves will be effective for a lot longer. Over the years, I have sourced a few who will do it for 6 months, I'm not interested in pest companies that want to keep charging to go to our properties.

As part of the annual pest control - I make sure it's covered - too many pms just want cockies and silverfish - and some pest controllers only go out and quickly spray with cheap stuff...I wonder if some of them even spray at all!!
That's why so many tenanted properties have cob webs in the cornices and eaves.
You are correct, a lot of cheapos in fact do not treat the property at all or not well enough to do the job they are being paid for.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, I guess the same goes in property management, many go for the cheapest price which is not the best value and service.
Along the same lines as Dazz.....

You, as the Landlord, are screwed if you do......and are screwed if you don't.

If you don't, you will get claims by tenants to cough up some money and spray for whatever at the slightest sniff of a mozzie or a wasp.

If you do, and get it chemically tereated for all the nasty and bugs, you will be responsible for the death of the tenants dog when it chews on a dead baited rat, or you will be asked to pay for the tenants sick baby, as they got traces of poison on their hands straight after the pest man left the house!! (Have you seen what PPE these guys get kitted out with....they do it for a reason) - I tend to think that if they don't, and get something sprayed on them, that they will grow an extra limb, or start losing there hair!!

Dazz' point is spot on. I think if the tenant starts complaining about a bee or an ant, etc, what a joke. Just use some household spray.