Pests in rented accommodation

If you live in rented accommodation and have a problem with pests you should contact your landlord or managing agent/representative, or Tenant Management Organisation, (TMO)  - this includes residents who are receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax benefit. A TMO will request the Council’s Pest Control Service to carry out work on their behalf if necessary. Private landlords can also use our commercial pest control services.

Landlords' legal responsibility

Landlords, including Housing Associations and Registered Social Landlord, (RSL's), have a legal responsibility to deal with any pest proofing that is required.  They may also have a duty to employ a pest control contractor to treat infestations of rats, mice, cockroaches, bedbugs and tropical ant species. The Pest Control Service works in co-operation with Environmental Health’s Private Sector Housing Team to ensure landlords comply with legislation relating to pest infestation.  The Council can serve an enforcement notice on landlords who do not deal with pests in or on their land or premises. If the Council has to take enforcement action, including carrying out works in default of an enforcement notice, the landlord will be responsible for paying all costs incurred by the Council, including legal and administration costs.   

The Council has no statutory obligation to provide pest control treatments to tenants of private landlords, Housing Associations and RSL's regardless of whether they receive Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefits.

Reporting an unresolved pest problem to the Council

Tenants of private landlords, housing associations and RSLs who contact the Council for help with pest infestation will initially be referred back to their landlord. 

If this has been done and the landlord/housing association or RSL does not take action, the tenant can ask the Council’s Pest Control Service to investigate the circumstances of the infestation.  We will first ask you what steps you have taken to get your landlord to resolve the problem and to forward any correspondence to us.   If we consider that the infestation is likely to exist because of a building defect, then we will contact the Landlord and ask them to carry out proofing to block any holes.  The landlord has a legal responsibility to carry out proofing. We will also ask them to carry out baiting for rodents, if appropriate, but their agreement is likely to depend on the terms and conditions of your lease.  Please make sure you know the details contained within your lease.  

Where appropriate, the Council can consider serving an enforcement notice on landlords who do not deal with pests in or on their land or premises.However, tenants should also be aware that Notices can be served on occupiers, depending on the circumstances (if the Landlord is deemed not to be held responsible).  The Council will try to work with both parties to resolve informally in the first instance.

For more information read the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy or contact us on 020 7361 3002 or email