In California, landlords are required to keep rental units in livable condition, which includes removing trash and taking steps to prevent vermin. If a rental property develops an insect or rodent problem, California law requires the landlord to address the problem by hiring an exterminator, setting traps or taking other appropriate action.
In cases where tenants have left food out or fail to keep their homes clean, landlords may consider tenants responsible for the infestations. If this is the case, the landlord can require the tenant to pay the costs of extermination and pest control.
If a tenant notifies the landlord about a pest problem and the landlord does not take action, the tenant has several options. He can hire an exterminator and deduct the cost from the rent payment. He can also refuse to pay rent until the problem is resolved or simply terminate the lease. In all cases, there is the risk that the landlord may take the tenant to court and claim that the problem was not serious enough to warrant any of these remedies. Tenants should make sure that they have proof of the problem, such as photographs of rodent damage, a home inspection report or a statement from an exterminator, to show a judge if the matter ends up in court.
Pest Control Notification
If a California landlord contracts with an exterminator to regularly treat the rental property, the law requires the exterminator to identify the pesticides in a written notice provided to both the landlord and current tenants. The landlord is responsible for giving this notice to new tenants when they sign a lease or rental agreement.