Is You Landlord Responsible for Pest Control in Wisconsin?
If You Discover Mice, Bedbugs, or Cockroaches in Your Rental Unit, There Are a Few Factors to Consider
There have been several changes to Wisconsin law regarding tenant responsibility for pest control in recent years which may make it less clear about who is responsible for pest control in rental properties. Ultimately the best thing to do is consult your lease and an experienced attorney familiar with Wisconsin tenant law. In general: your landlord has a responsibility to provide habitable housing, but it depends on who is responsible for the infestation.
Regardless of where responsibility lies, it is important to remember that many pest infestations such as bedbugs, rats and cockroaches can pose a serious health hazard. The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with a pest control professional to remedy the problem and worry about who will pay later. Even if your landlord fixes the problem before your appointment, having the paperwork from another company will show you took steps to fix the problem yourself in a legal dispute.
What if my landlord didn’t tell me about a pest problem?
It is every landlord’s responsibility to provide habitable living conditions for their tenants. According to Wisconsin law, a landlord must disclose:
“Any structural or other conditions in the dwelling unit or premises which constitute a substantial hazard to the health or safety of the tenant, or create an unreasonable risk of personal injury as a result of any reasonably foreseeable use of the premises other than negligent use or abuse of the premises by the tenant.”
In other words, if your landlord knows of a serious pest issue in your unit and doesn’t tell you before you move-in, they are liable and may be on the hook for pest control expenses.
When are you responsible for pest control?
Landlords are responsible for providing habitable units and often that means the responsibility of paying for exterminator services falls to them. However, if it is determined that a pest problem is your fault, it will be your responsibility to pay for pest control. For example, if your unit faces a swarm of bedbugs shortly after taking a mattress or sofa in off the side of the road, it is unlikely that your landlord will have to pay for their removal.
Regardless of who is liable for the problem, it is important to restore safe living conditions immediately. Contact a professional pest control company right away.
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