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Who is responsible for pest control, the tenant or the landlord?

Fresno, CA |

We rent a single family house in Fresno. We have lived in it for about 3 or 4 months. We keep it very clean. I clean every few days and have a cleaning lady once a week. Still we got ants, ALOT of them in our bathrooms and part of the kitchen. We do not ever bring food into the bathrooms and I clean the kitchen every night. My landlord is paying for pest control this time but told me that if it ever happens again, I have to take care of it. If I get bugs in the house but it is not my fault do I still have to pay for the pest control or should my landlord be paying for pest control as problems come up? Also, should my landlord be doing preventative pest control?

Attorney Answers 2


Under your set of facts, if the only issue is ants (and not continued presence of rats, mice, and/or cockroaches), then the tenant is responsible, not the landlord.

Pest control is considered a luxury, not a necessity. The only instance where the landlord would be responsible is if there was continued presence of rats, mice and/or cockroaches which might render the premises uninhabitable. The California Supreme Court articulated the the landlord's duties in a 1974 case called Green v. Superior Court, (1974) 10 Cal.3d 616 which held that all residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability.

Unless the lease agreement contractually obligates the landlord to do so, there is nothing under California law that imposes an obligation on the landord to do preventative pest control.

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Check your rental agreement. If pest control is called for in it, the agreement will govern. If the agreement is silent on the issue, unless the home is uninhabitable due to infestation of vermin (I do not think your ant problem as you've described would qualify, annoying as it may very well be) it will likely fall to the tenant to be responsible for pest control.

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