There is a lot of debate surrounding who is responsible for pest control when renting. People are often unsure whether pest control is the responsibility of the landlords or the tenants. It is important to know the answer to this question to avoid costly disputes.

In this blog post, we will explore each side of the argument and provide some key takeaways on who is ultimately accountable for eliminating pests from your property.


Understanding the Law

A clear understanding of the laws related to pest control will help landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities. Many states have specific laws that require landlords to take care of certain pests, so both parties need to be aware of the regulations in their area.

A majority of places, including California, require landlords to be responsible for at least a portion of pest control. In these areas, landlords must pay for inspections and extermination of pests such as bed bugs and cockroaches. However, this does not mean pest control is not on the list of responsibilities for California tenants.

In other places, both the landlord and tenant may be responsible for pest control. In Chicago, for example, the tenant is responsible for controlling any pests in their space, unless landlord negligence causes an infestation.

The Dirty Details

Landlords must notify new tenants of potential pest infestations before moving in. They must also provide a written copy of any pest control contract services. Before renting to a new tenant, landlords should inspect the property, exterminate any existing pests, and document their findings.

The tenant should keep the living space free of pests by regularly inspecting them and promptly taking steps to eradicate any that may exist. Depending on what the rental contract states, if the tenant is at fault for the pests, they usually will be responsible for the pest control or given a fee to pay to cover any extermination costs.


Preventing Pests

As a tenant, you are responsible for taking measures to prevent pests from infesting your rental unit. Here are a few tips to help you keep your home pest-free:

  • Keep Your Kitchen Clean: Food scraps and crumbs attract many types of pests, so sweep up after meals, vacuum regularly, and wipe down surfaces. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage promptly.
  • Don’t Let Water Accumulate: Pests need water to survive, so fix leaks and keep drainage areas clear, empty your pet’s water bowl daily, and clean up stagnant puddles of water.
  • Store Belongings Off the Floor: Pests can hide in clutter, so store boxes and clothing off the ground. Keep your storage area clean and organized to deter pests.
  • Inspect for Holes or Cracks: Pests can enter your rental unit through small openings, so check for cracks in walls or gaps around doors and windows. Seal up any openings to prevent bugs from getting inside.
  • Use Pest-Repellent Plants: Certain plants naturally repel pests, such as lavender, rosemary, and mint, so consider planting them around your rental unit.
  • Watch for Signs: Contact your landlord or property manager immediately if you see signs of pests, such as droppings or nests. They will be able to provide you with the resources and the next steps you should take to get rid of the problem.

By taking preventive measures and acting quickly if problems arise, you can help keep your rental unit pest-free.


Key Takeaways

The landlord and tenant should discuss pest control responsibilities at the beginning of a leasing agreement. If either party needs changes or additions to the rental contract, both parties should agree upon the changes before signing a lease.

It’s also important for landlords to stay up-to-date on their state’s regulations and laws concerning pest control, as they may vary from one place to another.

Finally, both tenants and landlords should be vigilant in spotting signs of pests early on to avoid an infestation down the line.



Pests can be a daunting problem, especially when determining who is responsible for pest control when renting. Not only does it cause physical damage to the property, but it can also create an uncomfortable living environment for those living in the space.

Landlords must notify tenants of existing infestations before signing a lease, inspect the property regularly, and pay for any extermination services required. Tenants should keep their living space free of pests, take preventive measures, and notify the landlord if they find any signs of infestation. With careful attention, both parties can keep rental units pest-free.

(888) 982-6537