by Erika Mehlhaff

If you are going to live in a rental property, remember that you as a tenant will sign a contract with your landlord that outlines each person’s responsibilities as far as which party will take care of certain residential maintenance tasks. Sometimes, there is a question as to whether the landlord or the tenant is supposed to handle pest control. So, are landlords responsible for pest control in Texas? 

 

Landlords are responsible under the law to maintain livable residences. Section 92 of the Texas Property Code supports this: a landlord is responsible for any condition that “materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant.” Because pest infestations decrease the habitability of a property in terms of both health and structural safety, landlords are responsible for providing routine pest management services for the individuals who reside in those buildings.

 

“Texas law requires landlords to make a diligent effort to repair problems about which they have been notified and that materially affect the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant. Examples of items that materially affect the health and safety of an ordinary tenant are sewage backups, roaches, rats, no hot water, faulty wiring, roof leaks, and, sometimes, a lack of heat or air conditioning. If the problem violates a provision of your city’s building, health, or fire code, then it is more likely to be considered a health or safety risk.”


Tenants’ Rights Handbook, from the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Texas

So, landlords are generally responsible for handling issues including the presence of a variety of problematic pests in Texas, including bed bugs and cockroaches, as well as rodents. With regard to bed bugs, there are specific Texas bed bug laws on the books. Bed bug infestation treatments are the responsibility of current tenants if there is no record of a bed bug problem prior to that tenant taking up residence in the property. But any time a new tenant moves into a property that has a history of bed bugs, the problem (which should be disclosed by the landlord) the treatments are the landlord’s responsibility.

 

Cockroaches in Texas can be a huge problem, too, as can rats and other rodents. Pest control for cockroaches can be required and must be handled by landlords per the implied warranty of habitability. And as for tenant rights for rat infestations in Texas, they are essentially the same as for cockroaches because they impact habitability in terms of health and safety.

 

A pest infestation will jeopardize livable conditions in a rental property. So, for the most part, it falls to the landlord to arrange for and pay for pest control services. But landlords won’t always be held responsible. Tenants can also find themselves legally obligated to arrange for pest control in certain situations. For instance, for tenants with health conditions that could be impacted by the presence of pests, any additional pest management services above and beyond what is required of the landlord is the responsibility of the tenants themselves. Or if there is adequate proof that the tenants created pest problems themselves (e.g., by not keeping the space clean, clutter-free, etc.), the tenants also are held accountable.


Absolute Pest Management is your best choice for effective professional pest control in Austin and the central Texas area. The knowledgeable and skilled Absolute Pest Management team uses the top pest control products and the most up-to-date treatment methods to achieve the best pest management results for their clients. For any issues regarding pest control, pest extermination, or pest management, contact Absolute Pest Management.