Tenants with Pets want me to fumigate

By Laurie

I have owned a 4 unit row home now for about 7 years.  Up until about 2 years ago, I did not allow pets. After I had done alot of renovations on my apartments, I decided to allow people to come in with small pets, with a pet fee attached. As of 2 years ago, all 4 of my units had pets, all small dogs, and or cats… the building has a large shared yard. Never, not once have I ever had a tenant inform me of a flea issue. I do however, whenever a tenant moves out, fumigate all 4 units, that I personally pay for. Per Pa law, I am required to ensure that any new tenant coming into my building have an apt that is pest free. Back in May I had 2 tenants, in 2 different units move out, one had a cat, the other had no pets at all.  So I went in, cleaned the places as normal, all was great. My other 2 units still had the same tenants I had for almost 2 years… again, both have dogs, and one has an indoor cat.  I ended up renting out one the apts on June 1st, to a couple with a small child, and cat… than rented out the other apartment to their sister and her boyfriend on July 1st, who has a small dog, but constantly "dog sits" her mother’s 2 dogs. June goes by, July goes by, than on August 28th, I get a text message informing me that all of the apts are infested with fleas, and they want to take money off the rent to buy foggers… Apparently after  further investagation with my other tenants, only the brother/sister duo that just moved in had the flea issue, the third tenant simply thought it smart to bomb as well, which I agree, but the forth tenant doesn’t have any fleas in his home  at all… so anyway, I allowed them to take money off the rent for the bombs… the fourth apartment did not have the money to buy the bombs (fixed income for a disable tenant), so the other tenants with the infestation, told me that I had to make him buy them… so my husband went out, bought bombs for our disable tenant…While in the midst of all of this, the brother/sister duo’s mother calls my cell phone, threatening to call the board of health, and code enforcement, stating it is my responsibilty and that I am required to get a professional in there to fumigate, since their attempts at fumigating didnt work…which is what this tenants mother is requiring from me…

*So, here’s my question… am I  liable to by LAW to fumigate these apartments, if it  were their pets that caused the infestiation. Which I can prove, based on the timeframes and my other tenants. Also, they are threatening to not pay rent, since the one apartment is so bad, they all moved in together in the 2nd apartment…

I can tell you that before becoming a homeowner, and landlord, I was a tenant… I was a tenant with a pet… I was a tenant who’s pet had  fleas… which meant my apartment had fleas… I never put the onis on my landlord… It was my pet, my responsibilty to ensure my dwelling stay flea free.. I always bought the bombs and did it myself..

I am legally liable to get an exterminator in the building to fumigate the property?
*note:: there is nothing specific in any of the leases, since prior to allowing pets, our lease simply stated no pets, and than listed the types of pets that were not allowed. I would simply X out the NO in no pets, initial it, and circle what they informed me they had and the number. oh, that reminds me of another question, if I do, as a courtesy or if I am required by law to have someone come out to professional exterminate the pests, can I put an adendum on the lease for my tenants with pets, requesting 90 day proof receipts from their vet stating that their pets are be treating for fleas/pests, and require them to pay for the  quarterly fumigation that is done??? I did some research, and did get a quote just in case.

thanks in advance
Laurie aka Had it ^ to here Landlord

Edited on: Saturday, September 8th, 2012 12:12 am

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