What is a Pest Control Addendum?
A pest control addendum is a legal contract that is often included in a residential lease agreement. This document outlines the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenants when it comes to preventing pests in a rental unit.
Why Use a Pest Control Addendum?
Especially in cities with frequent pest concerns, including this addendum will help prevent future liability issues, reduce the risk of a pest infestation, and reassure the tenants that this issue is being taken seriously.
Many state laws require landlords to provide a safe and livable dwelling for tenants. This is known as the implied warranty of habitability. If landlords neglect serious concerns regarding pests, they could be at risk of violating state law. In certain states, tenants are allowed to take the following actions:
- Withhold their rent
- Pay to remove the infestation and deduct the cost from their rent
- Terminate the lease
- Sue the landlord
What to Include in a Pest Control Addendum
Landlords should include the following information in a pest control addendum:
- Type of Addendum – The heading and opening should state that this is a pest control addendum.
- Lease Date – The date of the original lease should be included.
- Addendum Date – Landlords should include the date that the addendum is signed and goes into effect.
- Name and Address – Landlords should include the names and addresses of both the landlord and tenants.
- Signature and Date – The addendum should be signed and dated by both the landlord and tenants.
- Landlord Affirmation – This section will confirm that the landlord did not find any pests while inspecting the rental property.
- Tenant Affirmation – This section acknowledges that the tenant will inspect items moved onto the rental property for any pests and will comply with all of the requirements of the addendum.
- Inspection – The tenant agrees to continually inspect their items and the rental property for any pests.
- Tenant’s Duty to Report – In this section, the tenant agrees to immediately notify the landlord if they find any pests in the renal unit.
- Landlord Access – In this section, the tenant agrees to allow access to the landlord and a professional pest management company if pests are discovered.
- Cooperation – This could include temporary evacuation and certain post-treatment requirements to help prevent re-infestation of pests.
- Prohibition – This section includes specific prohibitions for the tenant to minimize the chance of pests entering the rental property.
- Renter’s Insurance – The tenant is notified in this section that the landlord is not responsible for any loss of personal property due to a pest infestation. The tenant is instructed to make sure they have the appropriate renter’s insurance to cover any loss or damage to personal property as the result of a pest infestation.
- Violations – This section notes that a violation of this addendum is a violation of the entire lease agreement. That means that, if there is violation of this addendum, the landlord can take any actions authorized in the lease agreement for violations.
- Indemnification – For this clause, the tenant explicitly agrees to be responsible for any costs or damages, including any potential lawsuits, that result from a pest infestation.
- Governing Law – The law governing the lease agreement will also apply to this addendum.
This addendum may need to be modified depending on specific situations for your rental property and any specific state or local laws. Landlords need to ensure that this addendum and any actions they take regarding pests are in full compliance with these laws.
Both parties should have a signed copy of this addendum, as it is now part of the lease agreement. If a tenant refuses to sign a pest control addendum, the landlord can deny renting to them.
Tips for Preventing Pests in Rental Properties
Beyond providing an addendum, a landlord can take additional steps to prevent pest infestations. This can include:
- Periodic Landlord Inspections – By conducting periodic inspections, the landlord can monitor the state of the property. Specifically, the landlord can use this inspection to ensure there is not a pest infestation.
- Provide Tenants with Pest Prevention Instructions – In addition to this addendum, the landlord should provide tenants with specific instructions on how to handle pests. This can include cleaning tips to prevent pests as well as what to do during an infestation.