How Does a Bug Infestation Affect the Rental or Sale of a Home?

Bugs, pests, creepy crawlies, whatever you want to call them, are an unwanted addition to many homes. Mice, cockroaches, silverfish, and bed bugs, can all be set up in your home, rent-free.

pest infestation rats

IF you are unfortunate enough to have an infestation, you can call in a company to deal with it. But do you have to?

What if you rented out an apartment with bed bugs or wanted to sell a home knowing you had a rat problem?

Would this be legal? What would the ramifications be, and is it cheaper to try and get away with this rather than paying for pest control?

Will it be obvious that you have a pest problem?

You start to spot plenty of signs if you have a bug or pest infestation.

For instance, the signs of bed bugs are rusty coloured spots on sheets, and sometimes you will see where they have shed their shells as they grow. They can also give off an unpleasant odour.

If you have this type of infestation, then a bed bug exterminator will be required. These pests are tough to eradicate as they reproduce rapidly.

One single female bed bug can produce hundreds of eggs. Do the maths and see how quickly this could turn into a nightmare scenario.

Other pests show signs of droppings bite marks, and you may hear noises too. Mice inside cavities may be heard, and you may, of course, see them making their way through your home.

Can you still sell a home if you know about an infestation?

Well, you could bring up the adage, buyer beware. And the answer to the above questions might be surprising.

There is no reason you couldn’t sell a home or other property swarming with termites, bed bugs, and all manner of pests. On one condition, when a property is sold, a number of things about its state need to be disclosed with perfect honesty. If you told a prospective buyer that there was an issue with bed bugs, then it would be their choice to proceed or not.

AskingLot states that a buyer can sue a seller after a house sale, so it is crucial to be honest, to disclose all problems.

pest infestation termites

What are the problems with selling a home with an infestation?

Firstly, you would need to disclose the issue to the buyer fully. There isn’t any grey area here, and the law is clear unless you wish to get sued, of course.

The biggest problem with selling a property like this is that you won’t receive your asking price. Unless a property investor wants to buy your home to tear it down to build another property, they will be looking for a severe reduction.

The cost of pest control is far cheaper than either being sued in the courts or losing value on your home.

Is it possible to lease out a property with a known infestation?

Leasing and renting are very different prospects to selling. There are some very different laws surrounding house sales and rental agreements.

Renting a home is a much simpler process than buying one. It simply involves finding a place to rent, passing a credit check, providing references, then handing over a security deposit. Once a contract is signed along with an inventory, the renter usually gets handed the keys to move in.

However, on the landlord’s side, things are somewhat different. Several regulations and issues surround the renting of property. The Homes Fitness for Habitation Act was brought in to ensure that properties are suitable to live in.

What happens if a rental property has an infestation of some kind?

The Fitness for Habitation act clearly states that properties must be habitable before someone moves in.

This means that if there were bed bugs, cockroaches, or something even worse, such as rats in a home, then it couldn’t be rented out. The landlord would be responsible for pest control.

The law isn’t exactly specific about rat infestations, but it is clear about homes needing to be habitable.

If the infestation happens after a tenant moves in, it may make for a different tale.

Who is responsible for removing bugs and pests in rented accommodation?

If rats moved into a home after it was rented, it could be a tricky situation. Firstly, there are health issues to be concerned about.

Rats spread disease, including toxoplasmosis and Weil’s disease. They also cause tremendous destruction and will gnaw through cables and skirting boards.

Who is responsible for removing them could prove to be an awkward situation. If rats moved in due to structural issues with the property, the landlord could be at fault.

However, if it was determined that the tenant’s behaviour had attracted this problem, then the tenant may have to pay for pest control.

Legal advice may need to be taken, and the tenancy agreement may have a clause about rodent infestation.

What must you do when you need to remove a pest infestation?

As you can see, which repairs are a landlord’s responsibility and which are the tenants can be tricky. However, the methods of removing a pest infestation remain the same.

The best way to remove an infestation is to call pest control experts. The reason for this is that they are far more likely to do the job properly than you can.

If you’re looking to rent your home or sell it, there is little point in trying to use home remedies or products bought from the local hardware store.

Cockroaches, rats, mice, and bed bugs, are a complete nuisance to remove, and the job needs to be done thoroughly so the property can pass inspection.

Are there ways to stop the problems from reoccurring?

A landlord might want to consider bringing in pest control once a year to keep their building pest-free. This would make sense if they owned several properties in an apartment block.

Maintenance work is an excellent prevention method of keeping out pests. Filling in cracks and repairing any structural damage, including roofing, will help remove access for some pests.

Some tenants, of course, maybe the issue themselves. In this case, it can be trickier for the landlord to keep a building pest-free, and then disputes can occur.


There are many rules which landlords need to follow. There are regulations surrounding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for landlords in the UK. There are also laws surrounding the habitability of a property. If hot water systems cease to work, they need to be fixed.

However, when it comes to pests, the law is less unclear in some areas. It is perfectly viable to sell a home with bed bugs as long as the truth is disclosed. However, if a rented home became infested with rats after a tenant moved in, it may be their responsibility to remove them.