It can be difficult to work out who is liable for the cost of removing pests from a rented property.
There is no mention in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 of who the responsibility for dealing with pests and infestations in a rented property and so unless the responsibility is is clearly defined in the lease, the party liable for the costs of removing pests may depend on some of the following scenarios:
- Where the pests were already a problem prior to moving into the property
- If there was an existing problem with the property, such as a hole in the roof, that allowed the pests to enter.
- Did the tenant unwillingly create or bring the pests with them? For example, if you leave rubbish and food scraps out or have pets with fleas, you could be served with a breach of duty notice by your landlord.
Check your property and lease before you move in
Its always a good idea to check the conditions of your lease before moving into a rented property as well as checking the property when you inspect for any signs of pests.
In cases where agreement on liability cannot be reached, either party can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) or South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).