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Is it the tenant's responsibility or the landlord's responsibility (in WA state) to eliminate a bees nest?

Rochester, WA |

The nest appears to be under the house. They are entering and leaving around the cement blocks at the base of the manufactured home. We discovered the nest when we started getting bees in the house. We still dont know how they are getting in.....possibly through the vent. I went to them to express my concerns that they may be doing damage under the house. I was told by the landlord that it is our responsibility to spray - which we have not tried. I am afraid - my husband is allergic!! They insisted that I BUY the spray and then they will "try" that. I'm wondering if it truly is our responsibility to BUY the spray or is she just being ridiculous!! I was concerned about the structure of the house and of course we don't want them in the house and she just stated that its all on us!! True???

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Attorney answers 2


Washington State law section provides in pertinent part:
59.18.060. Landlord--Duties
The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation, and shall in particular:

(4) Provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant;

Thus, pursuant to this provision -- if the bees nest qualifies as an infestation by insects (and I would argue that it does), and you are not in a single family home, then exterminating the bees and removing the nest would be your landlord's responsibility.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.


Your responsibility is to tell your landlord, in writing, of the problem. If they have proof that they had an exterminator out in the month before you moved in, then arguably it would be your responsibility. But if they don't have those records, then it is their responsibility.

In multi-family housing, it is always the landlord's responsibility to eliminate infestations. In single-family, the place has to be clean and not infested at move in, and after that it is the tenant's duty. See RCW 59 18 060. But the landlord has no obligation to do anything unless or until you tell them in writing. Phone calls/personal visits are futile. Elizabeth Powell

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