Who Is Responsible for Pest Control in your Florida Rental Property?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”. This statement holds for pest control in Florida particularly well. People live in Florida because they love the warm weather. However, the warm summers and mild Florida winters make living here desirable for us human beings and pests. This issue is the primary reason why pest control is so important in the Sunshine State
Let’s face it, finding pests in your home is hardly a pleasant thing. Invariably, the tenant will insist that pests were already present before they moved into the property. The landlord, on the other hand, may blame the tenants for the infestation. And tenants may just blame the neighbors!
Figuring out who is in charge of pest control on a rental property is not the easiest thing to do. However, delaying treatment can have serious consequences and lead to unwanted health hazards. The common goal should be to get professional help with pest control. And eliminate pests from your home as quickly as possible.
Eating foods infested with cockroaches can lead to illnesses like typhoid, cholera, and other allergies and infections. Bed bugs lingering in fabrics of sofas and mattresses can cause infestations and bites on your body. Children are more likely to suffer as they get bugs and fleas from furniture at a friend’s home. Food contaminated by rodents is dangerous and can lead to illnesses like hantavirus.
So, Who Is Responsible? Really?
In most cases, landlords are responsible for pest control in a rental property. According to Florida Statutes section 83.51, unless otherwise agreed in writing, the landlord of an apartment is responsible for rats, mice, cockroaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bed bugs. The above-mentioned, however, does not apply if your property is a single-family unit or a duplex.
The landlord’s responsibility is to provide the tenant with a safe and sanitary home and pest-free environment. However, if the tenant causes the infestation, they are responsible for pest control. And they must comply with the requirements for the service, such as preparing the property and vacating it during scheduled hours.
Sometimes, the tenant’s actions can lead to infestations. It’s difficult to prove, which party caused the infestation. Some properties are more prone to infestations, as the area in general has a history of pest problems. Some tenants compromise on hygiene standards, creating an unsanitary environment. Others may just litter the rental property and not take out the trash on time.
People may leave food sources uncovered in a rental property. Food left out for even a few hours can start an infestation. Often a major culprit is crumbs. And where there are crumbs, there will be cockroaches. Eventually. If the landlord can establish these causes successfully, the tenant may be responsible for paying for pest control problems. More so, the landlord is even justified in evicting the tenant.
A Landlord’s Responsibilities For Pest Control
Most landlord-tenant pest control laws stipulate that landlords are responsible for ensuring the rental unit meets safe habitability and pest-free standards. Property owners need to be aware and responsible for preventing pest infestations, such as seasonal pest control and maintaining sanitation standards at all times. Timely inspections can help locate termite and bee infestations, especially in attics and crawlspaces. These areas of the property are less frequented and most responsible landlords include these items before a move-in inspection.
Some owners try to get around licensed pest control services by resorting to DIY pest control. This may be acceptable if the infestation is minor and can be managed by an individual. However, it is well within the rights of the tenant to ask for the qualified and professional help from a licensed contractor if the problem persists. Or if they feel the landlord has not been able to resolve the pest problem successfully.
Sometimes, landlords will go the DIY route to skimp on charges and look for a short-term fix. However, this does not benefit them or their tenants, leading to bigger losses over time. Since tenants are residents, they are tasked with looking out for the rental property. Therefore, it is always a good idea for the landlord to instruct their tenants on their responsibilities regarding pest control. This could be at the time of move-in. Or subsequently, by way of timely and informative communication with tenants.
Tenant Responsibilities for Pest Control
As a rule of thumb, if cockroaches or mice infestation results from a lack of cleanliness or negligence on the part of the residents, then the pest control responsibility falls on the tenants. And they will be liable for paying for conducting the requisite pest control measures.
There are some proven ways to deal with pest problems in rental properties;
- Supervise the move-in process
- Keep the property and surrounding areas clean, after moving-in
- If there are known pest issues, agree on timely inspections and action with the landlord
- Take the trash out regularly.
- Keep doors closed and fix broken fly screens on time.
- Look out for holes in the walls and crevices; even small ones
- Make sure to keep control of fleas, bugs, and lice on pets.
- Avoid littering and dispose of food waste responsibly.
- Report pest problems to the landlord immediately.
Structural damage in a property can also set off pest problems. Issues like water leaks can lead to puddles collecting in places that are sometimes out of sight. These can often go unnoticed, or on occasion are in areas that are hard to access. Seal any cracks you notice in the walls or around doors and windows. Preventative maintenance is good, but sometimes the pests may still find a way into your home. Your landlord should contact a professional property management company or a pest-control specialist for bigger or more complicated repairs.
Pest Insurance. Is it necessary?
Like most other insurance plans, it depends on what you think you need. Pest cover is often overlooked when considering buying an extra cover for your home. But if an infestation occurs, dealing with it alone can be quite a stressful experience.
You will have to organize the extermination on your own. Or go shopping for an extermination agency at short notice. And take time out to oversee the process, without a guaranteed result. Most people lead busy lives and do not have the time to manage a pest infestation that occurs. If the property you own happens to have a history of infestations, investing in a comprehensive plan is never a bad idea.
Pest control plans start with inspections and checklists to get you started. They come with varying amounts of cover for treating bedbugs, lice, and flea infestations. For infestations of mice, rats, bees, and wasps, you will be covered for a certain amount of the extermination fees.
How we can help.
Real Property Management Premier experts can help you if you need help with a pest problem. We can recommend trusted and reliable pest control contractors with local expertise in handling pest problems in Florida. We believe a little maintenance goes a long way as an investment to avoid larger, long-term problems. Our property management professionals have the necessary knowledge and required experience. Look no further than Real Property Management Premier.
Contact us online or call 954-800-4433 and ask our property managers about our services in detail.
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