Landlord Refuses to Treat Termites: What to Do

If you are renting in a property infested with termites, it will invariably cause tension between you and your landlord. But living with a termite infestation is really unpleasant as well and can damage the property. You need to go to your landlord and explain the termite problem… But what do you do when your landlord refuses to treat termites?

What to do if your landlord refuses to treat termites

Talking to your landlord is a good start

First, you actually have to talk to your landlord. Some tenants become aggressive and confrontational immediately, which is understandable because termites are not fun and can make you feel emotional. But you need to deal with your landlord calmly, don’t get angry. Simply explain to your landlord that the property is suffering from a termite infestation. This way, they become actually aware that there is a problem.

Explain the seriousness of the situation, like how it affects you and your family, and how it can affect the structural integrity of the property. Many times, this is enough to make the landlord act. There is no need to be angry from the get-go.

If your landlord refuses to treat the termites — put everything in writing

However, there are times when landlords are just too passive. They just want the passive income associated with their rental properties. And they don’t want to exert effort to keep things going smoothly. This may mean that talking to them verbally won’t give you results.

If your landlord refuses to treat termites even after you have already explained the situation, request again, but this time, put it in writing. Send them a letter or an email — anything that will leave a paper trail. And make sure to keep a copy of it.

Check your lease for a pest control clause

Who is truly responsible for pest control when it comes to rental properties? Generally speaking, the landlord is responsible because they have the responsibility to keep their property livable to be able to rent it out. This is especially true when it comes to natural and seasonal pest infestations. However, there are times when the tenant is the one responsible, especially when it’s obvious that their own actions or negligence caused the pest infestation.

Look at your lease agreement. Usually, it will have a clause about pest control, and it will also usually go in your favor because the landlord is almost always responsible. But there may also be language that allows the landlord to protect their investment.

Check your lease contract for pest control provisions if your landlord refuses to treat termites.

If your landlord refuses to help, get help from your local authority

Termite infestations can be serious. Termites don’t just destroy homes. They can also bite or cause allergies. It’s wise to get the local authorities involved to solve the issue as soon as you can. Local housing authorities or health departments are usually the ones who can help handle landlord-tenant disputes. Explain the situation and show the authorities a copy of your request for pest control that you have sent to your landlord.

This move can be deemed aggressive. It’s possible to solve the dispute without involving authorities. But if your landlord really refuses to treat the termites, getting the authorities involved is definitely a good move.

If your landlord still refuses to treat the termites — seek legal advice

If the situation is getting worse, it may be time to get legal advice. Lawyers won’t just explain to you your rights as a tenant and the possible legal action against your landlord. They can also help legitimize the situation. Many times, landlords will take the situation more seriously when lawyers are finally involved.

Ask the lawyers about the entire legal process, so you are involved and informed every step of the way. Whether you truly have a case against your landlord or not, remember that, as a tenant, you also have responsibilities, not just rights.

Tips if you need to seek legal advice

1. Look for lawyers that have experience with such cases

If the landlord refuses to treat termites even after you have sent a request for pest control, can you just terminate the lease contract and leave the property without penalty? Can you withhold rent until the termite infestation is dealt with? Is your landlord liable for injury and other damages? There are so many questions that need to be answered. Unfortunately, landlord-tenant laws vary depending on where you are.

This highlights the importance of looking for lawyers that specialize in such laws. Thankfully, powerful search engines like Google makes this easier. Look at the website of the lawyer you are eyeing. Check reviews. If possible, look for results too for the cases they have handled in the past.

2. Schedule a consultation and discuss

Schedule a consultation with the lawyer you are eyeing and discuss everything with them. This will not give you a complete understanding of every little legal detail about your situation, but it can give you a bird’s eye view of everything. With the help of the lawyer, you will know your tenant rights, the processes involved in settling the dispute, the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and other specifics.

But don’t forget the other things that don’t directly involve your case — the legal fees, payment methods, and payment structures. Lawyers are not charities after all. The only charitable aspect here is that some lawyers work on a contingency basis, wherein they only get paid when they win your case.

If your landlord refuses to treat termites, consider consulting an attorney.

4. Be honest and transparent

Be completely honest and transparent with your lawyer. Tell them everything they need to know, including the severity of the termite infestation, how it is affecting you and your family, how you have informed your landlord about the situation, and how you have attempted to solve the problem yourself.

Also, tell your lawyer the details of your lease contract. Provide your copy of any written communication with your landlord about the situation. If possible, provide photos or videos of the termite infestation and its damages.

It’s important to tell your lawyer the entire story, so they can give you the best representation possible. This indirectly gives you a better chance of winning the case.

Finally… If your landlord refuses to treat termites, keep calm

Even if your landlord refuses to treat termites, don’t be too aggressive and confrontational. It’s important to maintain a civil relationship with your landlord. This can reduce stress and increase the chances of resolving the issue in a peaceful and timely manner.

Use a calm and respectful tone both in written and verbal communications. Before going into an all-out legal battle, make sure to follow up on your request for pest control. And if all else fails and you are forced to involve authorities and lawyers, be open-minded and willing to compromise.

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