Pest control: who is responsible?

As well as carrying the ultimate ‘ick’ factor, vermin in your home can cause serious damage to both yours, and your family’s, health and wellbeing.

Rats, for example, are renowned for increasing the risk of diseases spreading as they can contaminate food and food preparation surfaces – and a female rat can have approximately 5-10 litters of young per year.

Along with rats, cockroaches are known to contribute to the spread of disease, as they can not only carry bacteria on their body that can contaminate food but, perhaps even more scarily, they have been known to not only invade your home but also your body, with several recorded cases of cockroaches entering the ear and nose canals while the victim is sleeping.

So, who is responsible for pest control in your rented home? Determining who should deal with an infestation depends on a number of things:

  • Whether the property had a vermin infestation before you moved in
  • If the problem has been caused, or made worse, by disrepair to the property
  • If the problem has been caused by hygiene issues
  • Whether your tenancy agreement contains any guidelines specific to pest control

As you would expect, it isn’t always straightforward working out who’s responsible and there are many grey areas regarding who is responsible for disrepair. However, an Environmental Health Officer might be able to identify the cause of the infestation, which should help to work out who’s responsible.

Pest infestation due to disrepair

If you believe that the vermin control issues that you are faced with have been caused by the conditions of your rented property, or were already an issue prior to you moving in, generally it is your landlord’s legal obligation to deal with the problem, including:

  • Making any structural repairs to the building which may be an entrance for rats or mice
  • Paying for the professional removal of any pests within the property
  • Repairing or paying for any damage that has been caused by the pests. This may include fixing damage to wiring, pipes, walls or brickwork that rats or mice may have chewed through

At CEL Solicitors, we wholeheartedly believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and disease-free home, and don’t want our clients to suffer unnecessarily. To find out your rights as a tenant if you believe that landlord is not fixing any problems or issues with vermin and pest control, contact our expert team of housing solicitors today on 0151 909 8212 or email