Is My Landlord Responsible For Mice?

Dealing with mice infestation in your rental property can be distressing and uncomfortable. In Pennsylvania, understanding the division of responsibility between landlords and tenants when it comes to pest control is vital to minimize disputes.

Dealing with mice infestation in your rental property can be distressing and uncomfortable. In Pennsylvania, understanding the division of responsibility between landlords and tenants when it comes to pest control is vital to minimize disputes.

Landlord's Responsibility for Pest Control

In Pennsylvania, landlords have a legal obligation to provide tenants with habitable living conditions, which includes ensuring that the property is free from infestations by rodents like mice and rats. This responsibility is outlined in the "implied warranty of habitability," which is a fundamental concept in landlord/tenant law.

Tenant's Responsibility for Pest Control

While landlords are generally responsible for maintaining a pest-free environment, tenants also have a role to play in preventing and addressing pest issues. Tenants are responsible for maintaining cleanliness and proper hygiene in their rental units. Failure to keep the premises clean and sanitary may contribute to pest problems and could result in tenant liability for the infestation.

Reporting Pest Issues

Pennsylvania tenants who notice signs of a mice infestation should promptly notify their landlord or property management. It’s best to communicate the issue in writing — such as via email — to create a record of the complaint. Landlords must then take action to address the infestation.

Landlord's Duty to Address the Infestation

Once informed of a mice infestation, landlords are legally obligated to take prompt action. This typically involves hiring a licensed pest control professional to assess the extent of the problem and implement appropriate measures for eradication.

Legal Remedies for Tenants in Pennsylvania

If a landlord fails to address a mice infestation within a reasonable timeframe after being notified, tenants may have legal remedies. These can include:

  • Rent Reduction: Tenants may have the right to withhold rent or request a reduction in rent if the infestation is not addressed promptly.
  • Termination of Lease: In severe cases where the infestation persists, tenants may be legally entitled to terminate the lease and vacate the property without financial penalties.
  • Legal Action: Tenants can take legal action against the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability if the infestation causes significant health and safety issues and the landlord fails to act. Experienced Pittsburgh housing dispute resolution lawyers can provide robust legal representation in these cases. 

Prevention and Cooperation

Both landlords and tenants can take steps to prevent mice infestations. Landlords can implement preventive measures, such as sealing cracks and holes in the property to prevent rodent entry. Tenants should maintain cleanliness, store food in sealed containers, and report any issues promptly.

The Role of Lease Agreements in Dealing with Mice Infestation

Lease agreements play a key role in dealing with mice infestations in rented properties in Pennsylvania. The agreement should include provisions related to the landlord's responsibility for maintaining a pest-free environment and promptly addressing infestations, including those caused by mice. The lease should outline the tenant's obligation to maintain cleanliness and proper hygiene to prevent contributing to pest problems.

Lease Addendums for Pest Control

Lease addendums for pest control are valuable tools for landlords and tenants seeking to clarify their roles and responsibilities in addressing and preventing pest infestations. These addendums serve to supplement the main lease agreement, offering specific details related to pest control measures.

Pest Control Responsibility

  • Clearly define whether pest control is the responsibility of the landlord, tenant, or a shared responsibility.
  • Specify the types of pests covered by the addendum, such as rodents, insects, or other common pests.

Preventive Measures

  • Outline preventive measures that tenants should take to minimize the risk of infestations, including cleanliness, proper food storage, and reporting any signs of pests promptly.

Reporting Procedures 

  • Detail the procedure for tenants to report pest issues to the landlord or property management, including contact information and response times.
  • Specify whether written notice is required and the preferred means of communication.

Landlord's Response

  • Describe the landlord's obligation to address reported pest issues, including the timeline for initiating pest control measures.
  • Specify whether licensed pest control professionals will be hired and the frequency of inspections and treatments.

Tenant Cooperation

  • Emphasize the importance of tenant cooperation during pest control treatments, including preparation instructions and access to the rental unit.
  • Highlight any responsibilities tenants have in maintaining a pest-free environment, such as disposing of garbage properly.

Cost Allocation

  • Clarify how costs associated with pest control, such as inspections and treatments, will be allocated between the landlord and tenant.

Choose the dedicated Pittsburgh landlord-tenant dispute attorneys at Very Law for legal guidance on addressing pest infestation issues. We can also help you draft lease addendums related to pest control to ensure a clean and habitable property. Call Very Law today at 412-430-0131 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We Are Here to Serve You

Think you may have a case? Let’s talk.

Schedule a Consultation