In NC, is the landlord required to provide a monthly extermination service for a tenant because she wants one?There is no infestation but the NEW tenant has found two dead water bugs since moving...

In NC, is the landlord required to provide a monthly extermination service for a tenant because she wants one?

There is no infestation but the NEW tenant has found two dead water bugs since moving in not even one month ago. I had the house exterminated last week but now she said she wants a monthly extermination service at my expense. The house has new paint and carpets and had been professionally cleaned before she moved in. It is on a slab near a bay and was built in 2004. I've had three tenants in this house since, and no one ever complained of bugs. She said after she saw the two bugs, she wants the service to ensure there is no infestation. The exterminator said there wasn't, but he is into selling monthly service contracts. Am I responsible for paying for a monthly contract?

Asked on by kayekaye

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

If a monthly extermination service is not part of the lease agreement, you should not be liable for a monthly extermination service.  You responded to a possible problem when you had the house exterminated last week, showing good faith effort on your part. Since there is no evidence of an infestation, you certainly aren't legally bound to provide such a service. I would compromise with the tenant, as suggested by the previous editor, only if it is difficult in your area to rent your property in these economic times. You need to assess whether it is in your best interest to compromise and keep the tenant or tell her she must pay for an exterminator herself and risk losing her as a tenant.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Consult an attorney, because each state is different.  But be aware in many states the law tends to favor the tenants over the landlords.  In this case, the section of law dealing with "reasonable maintenance and upkeep" by the Landlord is what she is trying to apply.  Now that's a fairly general term, and again, consult an attorney, but I can't see how that requires you to maintain a monthly extermination contract.  Reasonable would mean, to me, is there a real problem?  We live in a world that has bugs, and every once in a while one makes it inside our homes.  You stated there is no infestation, so I can't see the need to pay for a contract, either legally or practically.

If I was an arbitrator, I might suggest having one in every six months or so (every month is probably unnecessary under almost any circumstances).  This might pacify your tenant.  You can also say that you have no choice but to pass those costs along to your tenants in the form of a raise in rent, depending on the laws and conditions of the property you manage.  Good luck.

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