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Dealing with Household Pests – What Landlords Need to Know

  • 9 months ago
  • 0

As a landlord, the tenants you want the very least are pests. If you get a message from a human tenant about mice, wasps, rats or fleas, you need to jump (pun intended) into action immediately.

Pest control is important

Pests, such as fleas, bedbugs, rats, mice and cockroaches can infest homes and workplaces, where they can damage property and furniture, contaminate food, spread disease and even cause fires.

Many household pests such as ants are fairly harmless, if annoying. However, flies, rats and cockroaches can contaminate work surfaces and food and potentially spread parasites of pathogenic bacteria to humans and pets.

What are your pest control responsibilities as a landlord?

You’re legally obligated to ensure your property is fit for human habitation, so you’ll need to get rid of household pests. When you hear about pests from a tenant, you must arrange a visit from a pest controller or from the local council within a “reasonable” time frame.

If you don’t act within a reasonable time, your tenant can report you to the local Environmental Health department and explain that the pests are affecting their health.

The Environmental Health department can force you to sort the problem and ultimately, your tenant can take legal action against you.

If the pests are coming from a neighbouring property then it’s down to the neighbours to deal with, but you may have to ask them and even report it to the council.

Of course, your tenants also have obligations – they shouldn’t do anything which can attract pests, such as leaving food waste or other rubbish lying around.

The UK’s five most common household pests


Rats are probably the worst pests as they can carry various diseases, gnaw through wood, wiring and even breeze blocks, causing a lot of damage.

You’ll usually need professional help to get rid of rats and pest controllers will often try to trap the animals before resorting to poison.


Mice are smaller than rats but not much more welcome. They’re a problem throughout the year as they don’t hibernate and they can spread salmonella and listeria, so you don’t want them on your kitchen surfaces.

These little rodents can also chew through wires, which can cause fires. You can try to trap and eliminate mice yourself, but a bad infestation will need professional help.


Ants are annoying rather than hazardous and they’re especially active during the summer. They’re almost always attracted by food – sweet food in particular – so your tenants can reduce or prevent the problem by making sure they’re scrupulously tidy.

Leaving sugary liquids, jam, biscuits and similar food items lying around will bring ants to your door, so tell your tenants to wipe away spills and sweep up sugar promptly.


Everyone’s pet hate – it seems these stripy menaces live to ruin picnics and sting small children. Wasps are a major annoyance for most of us but for allergic people they’re life-threatening. If your tenants discover a wasps’ nest on or in the property you’ll need to call in the professionals – you can’t deal with it yourself.


Cockroaches don’t just look unpleasant, they can carry dysentery, gastrointestinal bugs and even salmonella. Their droppings are also linked to eczema and asthma. Even worse, these insects are as every bit as tough as they’re reputed to be, so you’ll need a pest controller to come in and take care of them at every stage of their life cycle.


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