Pests and vermin infestations in rented homes

Find out who’s responsible for dealing with rats, mice, bedbugs, fleas and other infestations in your rented home.

When your landlord is responsible

Your landlord is responsible for dealing with pest problems if:

  • repairs are needed to stop pests getting in

  • an infestation makes your home unsafe to live in


Rats, mice and other pests can get into your home because of repair problems. 

Your landlord should repair things like holes in external walls, broken vents or air bricks, damaged doors or windows and other cracks and gaps that pests can get in through. 

Unsafe homes

Your landlord must make sure your home is fit to live in.

You may be able to take action if your home is unfit to live in because a pest problem is affecting your health or stopping you using some of the property. 

This won't apply if you have a fixed term private or housing association tenancy that started before 20 March 2019.

Even if your tenancy isn't covered by the rules on unfit homes, pests could still be considered a hazard and the council could tell your landlord to fix the problem.

Your responsibilities

You are responsible for keeping your home clean and tidy. This is sometimes called 'acting in a tenant-like manner'.

You shouldn’t do anything that could attract pests, such as leave food or rubbish out. You should clean regularly.

Pests from neighbours’ homes

You should ask your neighbours to deal with the problem. You can contact environmental health if your neighbours don't respond.

It isn’t normally your landlord’s responsibility to deal with pests from neighbours’ homes.

Report the problem to your landlord

Tell your landlord about the pest problem and any:

  • repairs needed

  • impact on your health

  • damage to your furniture and belongings

Some private landlords would rather evict their tenants than carry out repairs. 

Problems in shared areas

Tell your landlord about any pest problems in communal areas, such as shared hallways or stairs in a block of flats. 

The landlord may be responsible if they own the whole building. If not they, they should report the problem to the owner.

What your landlord should do

If the landlord is responsible for the pest problem they should:

  • carry out repairs

  • arrange a visit from pest control

They could use a pest control company or contact the council.

You shouldn’t be charged if the infestation is the landlord’s responsibility.

If you want to pay for pest control and take it off your rent, you should negotiate this with your landlord. Your landlord does not have to agree to this.

Your landlord does not have to rehouse you during repairs.

You might be able to claim compensation for disruption and damage to your things.

If your landlord won’t do the repairs

You can try different things if your landlord won’t do the repairs such as:

  • negotiating with your landlord to come to a compromise

  • contacting environmental health at the council

Don’t withhold your rent.

Contacting environmental health

If your landlord refuses to do repairs you can complain to environmental health at the council.

They will come round and inspect your property. They may decide that the pests are a hazard and give your landlord instructions to resolve the problem.

If you want to move out

You need to end your tenancy properly if you decide to move out. If you don't, you could still have to pay rent after you leave.

Find out how to end a:

Last updated: 18 March 2020

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