Pest Control in private rented homes

Understanding the law

Understanding who is responsible for controlling pests in a private rented home is not always an easy task. It will depend on a variety of factors such as:

  • was the property already infested with pests at the start of the tenancy;
  • what has caused the problem - is it due a structural defect or disrepair in the property;
  • has it been caused by an act or omission by the tenant(s); and
  • what does it say in the tenancy agreement about pest control. 

Fortunately, in December 2015, the House of Commons Library published a useful briefing note on ‘Dealing with infestations in private rented property in England’. It is not legal advice, although we do think it is useful guidance.

It sets out local authorities powers to tackle pest control issues under the Public Health Act 1936, the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Housing Act 2004. There is also other drainage legislation that could be relevant, depending on the cause of the problem.

The key issue for landlords and letting agents is to act quickly, try and establish the cause of the problem and where necessary, engage a specialist pest control company at the earliest opportunity. It may also do a good idea to check your local council’s website for find out what pest control services they can offer. 

To find out more, you can download a copy of the House of Commons via the link below. We have to point out that the document contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0 and you can read more information about the Parliamentary Licence here.   

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