From rodents and cockroaches to carpenter ants and bedbugs, the realization that pests, vermin, or other unwanted house guests have found a home in your rental property can be a stressful one for Toronto landlords and tenants alike. Not only are pests and vermin a hazard to the health of your tenants, but they can wreak havoc on your property and your reputation as a landlord. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re responding to pest complaints from your tenants, it’s important to know how to handle them effectively.
How to respond to complaints about pests and vermin
Pests and vermin can be a major health hazard for your tenants, spreading illness and creating unsafe living conditions for occupants. This means that it’s extremely important for you to take action as soon as you receive a complaint – not only will this ensure that the health of your tenants isn’t compromised, but it will mean that you’ll be able to prevent further infestation, damage to your property, and will ensure that your relationship with the affected tenants will not deteriorate. It may be a good idea to give your tenants notice that you will be entering the unit in order to inspect the scope and potential source of the problem, and give you a better idea of the problem you’re up against.
Always use professional services
When dealing with a pest infestation, you’ll want to make sure that the problem is eliminated quickly and effectively to avoid widespread damage, and to limit the chance that the problem will return. In order to ensure that the job is done correctly, Toronto landlords should hire the services of a pest control professional. A professional will be able to accurately inform you about the extent of damage done to the property, and will have the knowledge and skills necessary to rid the unit of the infestation. There are a number of preventative measures landlords and tenants can take when dealing with a pest problem, including thorough cleaning of kitchen areas, vacuuming carpets, and minimizing humidity in areas like the bathroom.
Who is financially responsible for pest control?
According to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), “a landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards” – generally speaking, this means that landlords are financially responsible for pest control. This is largely because pest and vermin infestations can have extremely negative implications on the health and safety of tenants. This is somewhat frustrating as in some cases, the pest problem may have arisen from problems such as the tenant not keeping the property clean, but the RTA does not take this into account.
Failure to act in a timely matter or refusal to pay for pest control services can result in action by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) , so it’s important that landlords approach the situation with care. Unless a landlord can prove to the LTB that their tenant is the direct cause of a pest problem, the landlord will have to pay the costs associated with hiring a pest control professional, and for cleaning and repairing the unit to ensure that the damage done is rectified, and so that the problem doesn’t recur.
If the pest problem does recur, and it is a direct result of the tenant’s actions, there is a case for eviction but you should consult a lawyer before bringing this action forward. Additionally, keep all copies of invoices paid for pest control services and damages to the unit arising from pests, as these will be evidence for your case.
Property management firms like Highgate Properties are experienced in the handling of complicated tenant situations like pest problems. Highgate features a team of property management experts who know how to approach these situations carefully and effectively, allowing you to tend to the things that matter most in your life. For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.