Pests and infestations in a rented home

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Pests and infestations may include:

  • mice
  • rats
  • possums
  • fleas
  • ants
  • termites.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not say who is responsible for dealing with infestations in a rented home.

If the lease doesn't define responsibility, who pays for exterminating or removing pests may depend on whether:

  • the pests were already a problem when the tenant moved in
  • a problem with the property has allowed the pests to enter. For example, if a hole in the roof lets in pests, the landlord must deal with this as a non-urgent repair
  • the tenant contributed to the problem. For example, if you keep pets, or have not removed rubbish which is attracting mice, ants or cockroaches, the landlord could serve you with a Breach of duty notice and require you to arrange the extermination of the pests.

If a landlord and tenant cannot agree on who should pay for exterminating or removing pests, either of you can apply for a determination from VCAT.