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Pests and vermin in rented homes

Pests include:

  • bed bugs

  • cockroaches

  • flies and fleas

  • rats and mice, sometimes called 'vermin'

Are landlords responsible for pest control?

Your landlord must deal with a pest infestation if it's caused by a repair that they must fix.

They must also make sure your home is fit to live in during the whole tenancy. If pests were there when you moved in they should sort this out.

You need to tell them about the problem as soon as you notice it.

Example: Rat infestation

Alina moves into a private rented home.

When she moves in she notices droppings on the floor and holes in the floorboards.

Alina discovers that rats are getting in though a hole in a rotten cellar window frame. She tells her landlord about the problem.

Her landlord must fix the hole in the window frame and deal with the rat infestation.

Repair problems your landlord must fix include cracks in walls and floors, missing roof tiles, broken vents, air bricks, external doors and windows, and leaking pipes.

Could tenants be responsible for a pest infestation?

It's unlikely to be your responsibility unless you have done something that encourages pests.

For example, make sure you:

  • cover your bins

  • do not leave food or rubbish out

  • use flea treatment on your pets

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

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:

  • do all the necessary repairs

  • arrange a visit from pest control

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

You should not be charged if the infestation is the landlord’s responsibility.

If your landlord does not sort the problem out

You could:

  • get advice from the council's pest control team

  • complain to the council and ask for an inspection

Do not withhold your rent. If you pay for pest control and want to take the money off your rent, try to negotiate a rent reduction instead.

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

Some private landlords take steps to evict tenants who ask for repairs.

The Renters Reform Bill will change this but it's not law yet.

Find out when you're protected from this type of revenge eviction.

Complain to the council

You can complain to environmental health at the council.

They can come round and inspect your home.

Pests can be a hazard and the council could tell your landlord to fix the problem.

Pests from neighbours’ homes

Your landlord does not usually have to deal with pests in neighbouring properties.

Ask your neighbours to deal with the problem.

You can contact environmental health if your neighbours ignore you.

If you want to move out

You need to end your tenancy properly if you decide to move out.

Find out how to end a:

Last updated: 3 October 2023

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