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Who pays pest management costs

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by ramblin72, 4th Oct, 2016.

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  1. ramblin72

    ramblin72 Well-Known Member

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    I am looking for a bit of feedback on an email I got from my tenant last night (self managed) about an ant infestation that happened on the weekend. She got an emergency pest control guy out on a Sunday to deal with the ants that showed up in one bedroom. The cost was $180. Her email didn't specifically request reimbursement but just said she wasn't sure and would look at the contract...I read that she wants to let me step forward and pay for it without her having to ask.

    Our contract (standard RTA) doesn't cover pest management specifically. I've looked on the QLD RTA website and their comments about pest control basically say there's no hard and fast rule. The tenant has been in there for 12 months and we've had no issues before. Termite inspection was done about 10 months ago and all was good then.

    She did say the body corp had tree loppers on site the day before the ant invasion and that they were chopping trees down. She said the pest control guy suggested maybe they were disrupted from a tree and went into the house to build a nest. The property has no trees as we had one removed about 18 months ago, but it's a unit so there are neighbouring trees in other yards. It's a theory anyway...nothing definitive.

    I am going forward with stating it's her bill to pay because I really can't see any reason where that it's mine to pay. I am looking for some confirmation if anyone has any to share on similar situations.

    She is a good tenant and I don't distrust her or believe she is trying to get out of the bill. She's probably listening to the pest control guy and is sussing a reimbursement out. I'm happy to inquire with the body corp about it on her behalf but think the bill will be hers to pay.
     
  2. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    My view is :

    - Anything in the first couple of months of tenancy -> owner as could have been pre-existing
    - Anything that would come to the property due to tenants' living habits -> tenant
    - Anything that could come to the property regardless of living conditions -> owner
     
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  3. Phoenix Pete

    Phoenix Pete Member

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    I agree with DT though here in NSW I believe that the 'three month rule' no longer exists.
     
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  4. ramblin72

    ramblin72 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks DT, those views make sense to me. She is a clean and tidy person so I know it wasn't from her. Might be a combo of tree lopping and some rains. I think the pest control people are forwarding a report for her. Maybe something in that will trigger me to make a decision either way. I'll also follow up with the body corp to see where that might go.
    Thanks again
     
  5. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    In that case I'd say paid by owner.
    And then if you get a report that specifically mentions some body corp activity then see if you can get them to reimburse part.
     
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  6. Threebythree

    Threebythree Member

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    The guidelines from the RTA is unclear who pays for it. It almost alludes the landlord needs to do this annually if requested by the tenant.
    I am in the same boat... Thought i wouldn't classify it as an emergency!
     
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  7. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro SE Qld Property Management & Investor Services Business Member

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    Yes as stated above the RTA is not specific regarding ongoing pest issues during a tenancy. If it can be proven that the pests are present from tenants actions (leaving food out, leaving rubbish around the house) then it would clearly be the tenants responsibility. In your case though it doesn't sound like this is the case.

    Certainly could be an option to contact body corp as mentioned above yes! If no luck and if the dispute is ongoing then a possible outcome could be agreeing to pay half given you advised she is a good tenant to move forward and reiterate the meaning of emergency repairs (agreed this would not be considered an emergency, unpleasant yes however would not warrant a Sunday call out fee!) . You may have already read this on the RTA website however here is an article regarding pest control.

    Common questions include 'Are owners required to have pest control done regularly?', and ‘Do tenants have to pay to have any pests removed?’.

    While Queensland tenancy laws do not make specific reference to pest control, they do refer to the general standard of the property and how it should be maintained.

    Generally, lessors must ensure the property is fit for the tenant to live in and kept in good repair. Lessors can take preventative pest control measures such as white ant/termite treatments to minimise the risk of damage to a dwelling’s structure.

    The tenant must keep the place clean and undamaged, and return it in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy, after allowing for fair wear and tear.

    During a tenancy, responsive pest control measures may be needed, such as treatments for pests and vermin such as ants, fleas, cockroaches and rats.

    The lessor/agent and the tenant should consider why the pests are present and whether it relates to one party’s failure to comply with their tenancy obligations.

    If vermin such as mice or rats are caused by the tenant’s actions, the tenant would be responsible for dealing with the pests.

    Jodi
     
  8. Heinz57

    Heinz57 Well-Known Member

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    If in Brisbane the rain would have brought the ants out over the weekend. They often seem to disappear by themselves.
     
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  9. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Ants an emergency? Not unless they are some sort of aggressive poisonous ant!

    A bottle of Ant Rid and a shaker of ant sand would cost less than $20.

    Ants commonly come inside when rain threatens.

    However, if the photo is showing an ant path over her bed and pillow (rather than in a spare room) I can understand that she was a little freaked out.
     
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  10. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    Try the plug in ultrasonic devices too. And... I think the tree loppers disrupted the ants. I had the same, ants kept coming in and it might have been because some outside digging for clogged plumbing outside my property happened.
    I don't know who should be responsible for this.
     
  11. jins13

    jins13 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting points by all. I for one have always paid for the pest management (NSW). German cockaches!
     
  12. robboat

    robboat Well-Known Member

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    Those ants look like they are swarming - looking for a new home -
    Often happens after the nest is disturbed or flooded.
    Easy kill with aerosol pest spray at the point of entry and concentrations of insects, then vacuum them up.

    Seem the OP will wear the cost, but he can still try the BC for compensation if they organised the tree lopping.
    $180....= tax deduction....;)
     
  13. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Geez....no way hosay, not without calling first & how about a can of pest spray ? if it is the first day they have turned up, that is overkill....may be linked to the tree lopping too.
     
  14. Hedgy

    Hedgy Well-Known Member

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    Had a few tenants in the past that have requested it for cockroaches. I have paid in the past without giving it any thought. But must admit now that I've read this thread I will look into it further to find out exactly who the onus rests with.
     
  15. Ald

    Ald Well-Known Member

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    Dude just pay the bill and stop being silly.
    This is a person that is in your investment and she pays you money every week. She is a good tenant, try and loose some battles in your life just to be kind. You will gain more.
     
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  16. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Right.

    So, when a home owner pays the bank, the bank should stop being silly and just pay for whatever we ask for, right ?

    Oh, the bank won't pay ? So who do we call then, who looks after us home owners ?...hang on, I am waking up now......

    The NSW rules are pretty clear and pretty logical too, there are times when it may not be clear, such as in a strata block where one of the neighbors might be a bit of a pig, but basically, your not going to have infestations just appear and hang around if there is nothing for them to eat.

    If they were not there when you handed the place over, and 6 months later the tenants are having problems, well it is for a reason............
     
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  17. Ald

    Ald Well-Known Member

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    Oh dabbler dabbler.

    I fully expect to see the bankers in hell with me if and when I get there.