Are Landlords Responsible for Pest Control?

Last Updated: May 30, 2024 by Roberto Valenzuela

Landlords are almost always responsible for pest control. They must pay to exterminate infestations the tenant didn’t cause. They must also treat pest issues which affect more than one residence. There’s generally no obligation for a landlord to provide preventative services.

States with Specific Pest Control Laws

Most states cover pest control through general health and safety laws. A few have specific statutes and processes for pest-related issues, listed below. Most relate to bed bugs in particular.

State Standard(s)
Arizona Landlords must provide “bedbug educational materials” to tenants. They cannot rent a unit known to have a current infestation. Tenants must keep from moving personal materials into an infested place.
California “A landlord shall not show, rent, or lease to a prospective tenant any vacant dwelling unit that the landlord knows has a current bed bug infestation.”
Colorado Landlords must begin treatment of bed bugs, within 96 hours of receiving notice. There are specific requirements for treatment, costs, and other related topics.
Connecticut Detailed notification and treatment process for bed bug infestation. Landlords must inspect within five days of notice about a potential infestation.
Delaware Extensive requirements for suspected bed bug infestation. Landlords pay for treatment within 60 days of move-in or within 30 days of discovering another infestation in an adjoining unit. There’s otherwise a presumption that the tenant is at fault.
Florida Landlords must treat “rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs.” They can’t charge rent while a tenant is out of a unit for pest treatment.
Maine Extensive requirements and process for suspected bed bug infestations. Landlords must inspect within five days of notice. Upon finding an infestation, they must contact pest control within ten days thereafter.
Massachusetts Landlords are responsible for pest control in multiple-unit dwellings. Before any new occupancy, the owner of a property must inspect for pests. Inspection reports must be made available to state officials upon request.
New Hampshire Landlords cannot rent a bed bug-infested property unless they are in a qualified remediation program. The landlord pays all costs, but can later bill the tenant for infestation that was the tenant’s fault.
North Carolina Rat or mosquito infestations are an “imminently dangerous condition” if related to structural issues like moisture or improper outdoor sealing.
Rhode Island Occupants are liable for extermination by default. Landlords pay if the infestation is in multiple units. They also pay for infestations caused by landlord failure to maintain pest-proof conditions. Pest-proofing requires stacking materials neatly 18 inches above ground level.
Tennessee “Every multiple dwelling or rooming house shall be kept reasonably free of household vermin provided that the landlord shall not be required to carry out treatment measures more than twice per year.”
Vermont Occupants are liable for extermination by default. Landlords pay if the infestation is in multiple units. They also pay for infestations caused by landlord failure to maintain pest-proof conditions.
Washington Landlords must provide a pest control program at the start of a tenancy. They must address any infestation the tenant didn’t cause, except in single-family residences.

States Without Specific Pest Control Laws

States without specific pest laws, like New York and Florida, still require treatment of infestations. Such issues are simply handled under basic health and safety requirements.

In general, landlords in such states must treat infestations of multiple units or in common areas. They also must treat infestations the tenant didn’t cause. They can bill tenants for infestations caused by the tenant’s deliberate or negligent actions. In most cases, there’s no obligation for a landlord to provide prevention or other services unrelated to an active infestation.

Delivering Notice About a Pest Control Issue

Tenants usually have to deliver notice about pest control issues to the landlord before there’s a legal duty to act. Such notice must meet legal requirements. Some states permit verbal notice about such issues. Many require written notice.


Proving how long a landlord took to respond to a repair request is a critical part of any legal remedy, especially when reporting a landlord to housing authorities. Whether or not it’s legally required, written notice to the landlord is the best way to ensure this evidence is available, especially when delivered through certified mail.

Consequences for Failure To Provide Pest Control

Landlord failure to provide required pest control is a serious housing violation. State laws vary widely, but if a landlord doesn’t provide pest control after proper notice from the tenant, the following remedies are often available:

It’s often also legal for a tenant to contract for repairs and deduct from the rent. However, the deductible amount often is too low to cover all costs of extermination, cleaning, and so on.