Who is responsible for pest control in a NSW rental property?

Property management

Household pests – or vermin, are a fact of life and don’t discriminate between tenants or homeowners when it comes to the  properties they choose to infest. 

This raises the question of who is responsible for pest control in a NSW rental property, the tenant or landlord? Let’s take a look at the current regulations that govern this sometimes tricky issue, before we cover the practicalities of dealing with pests. 

Pest control in a NSW rental property: landlord or tenant?

According to NSW Fair Trading, knowing who is responsible for issues with pests in NSW rental properties is largely down to timing. 

  • If the pest or vermin were already a problem when the tenant moved in then it is the landlords responsibility. NSW Fair Trading states that this is in line with, ‘a landlord’s obligations to have the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness which is fit to be lived in by the tenant’ when the lease commences. Tenants should therefore highlight and record any evidence of pests in the condition report at the start of the tenancy.
  • Tenants are generally responsible for a pest problem if the issue arises after they have moved in, and it was caused by their behaviour. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 also states that, ‘the tenant must take reasonable care of the premises and keep the premises reasonably clean’. 

Let’s now look at what common household pests you will encounter locally, what causes an infestation and how to deal with them.

8 most common household pests in NSW

There are a whole range of pests – including insects, birds and rodents – that could potentially become a pest in your home. The most common encountered in NSW are:

  1. Termites, which can cause extensive damage to timber elements in the home
  2. Ants, 
  3. Cockroaches, which are common indoors, especially in an around kitchens
  4. Rats, specifically black rats are commonly found raiding bins or gnawing 
  5. House mice, nest in roof cavities and also cause damage from gnawing
  6. Wasps/bees, can nest in or near your property and are a stinging danger
  7. Bed bugs, feed on human blood and are difficult to control or exterminate 
  8. Possums, are becoming more common as habitat shrinks and nest in roof activities and attics

What causes a pest infestation in a property?

Why are pests attracted to your home? The short answer is that they can find two essential elements to ensure they survive and thrive, specifically a plentiful food/water source and shelter. Other potential push or pull factors include: 

  • Change of seasons and/or weather, with cold or wet conditions driving pests indoors
  • Shortages of food source
  • Loss of habitat, primarily from expansion of urban areas

Pest prevention is better than cure

Prevention is always better than cure, and even more so when it comes to pests. 

You can start by making sure a property is kept clean. This is especially true for kitchens, where food scraps on benchtops and in sinks can provide a generous food source for pests like cockroaches or ants. Another favourite area are rubbish bins, which can become a magnet for pests like rats – which can then take up residence and cause structural damage to electrical wiring and other elements of a property. 

If you are in an area with possums then you need to make sure your eaves and roofing is secure with no openings, otherwise you will have these creatures active at all hours of the night. They can also cause damage to your roof cavity and ceiling if they become permanent residents. 

If you have a pest problem that you can’t solve then you are likely to need the services of a licensed pest controller.

How much does pest control cost?

There is no set price for pest control in NSW. Licensed pest controllers will charge based on the type of pest, the size of your problem and how large your property is. 

Prices for pest control can range from $170 for a one-off treatment (internal and external spray) that covers insects and rodents, to $150 – $275 for indoor flea and tick treatment. Termite control of a specific area could cost from $180 – $225, while possum removal could cost in the region of $225, excluding repairs to the property. 

Need a professional to manage your property? propper Maintenance are a licensed service provider in Pest Control and experienced property managers who can help ensure your investment is protected throughout a tenancy.

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