MASSACHUSETTS LANDLORD-TENANT LAW

FIND OUT WHO’S RESPONSIBILITY PEST CONTROL IS
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At Premier Pest Control, we do a lot of work for landlords, property owners and management companies. We’ve developed such positive relationships with our customers, most of the time they just give us their tenants name and number and tell us to work all the details out. But we also get a lot of calls from confused tenants and landlords. The one question we’re always asked is “whose responsibility is it to pay for pest control services?” We get the question so many times we have our legislation books open and highlighted, but we’re definitely not lawyers. Below are sections of the law, which apply to the landlord-tenant relationship regarding pest control/extermination. To sum it up, if it is a single family dwelling then the tenant is responsible for pest control inside the property while the owner is responsible to maintain structural elements to prevent rodent access. For two family units and above, the landlord is responsible for extermination. And yes, this includes bed bugs! Lastly, landlords (and anyone who uses pesticides as part of their duties) is required to be a licensed applicator to apply pesticides in any residential dwelling with more than 3 units. Furthermore, should a landlord choose to get a license to apply pesticides on his/her own property, they will also need an insurance policy.

105 CMR 410.555:

(A)”The occupant of a dwelling containing one dwelling unit shall maintain the unit free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation, and shall be responsible for exterminating them, provided, however, that the owner shall maintain any screen, fence or other structural element necessary to keep rodents and skunks from entering the dwelling.”

(B)”The owner of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units shall maintain it and its premises free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation and shall be responsible for exterminating them.”

(C)”The owner of a rooming house shall maintain it and its premises free from all rodents, skunks, cockroaches and insect infestation, and shall be responsible for exterminating them.”

(D)”Extermination shall be accomplished by eliminating the harborage places of insects and rodents, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food or breeding ground, by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination method. All use of pesticides within the interior of a dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house, or mobile home shall be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations of the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pesticide Board, including those appearing at 333 CMR 13.00, which provide, among other things, that pesticide applicators or their employers must give at least 48 hours pre-notification to occupants of all residential units prior to any routine commercial application of pesticides for the control of indoor household or structural indoor pests.”

105 CMR 410.500: Owner’s Responsibility to Maintain Structural Elements:

“Every owner shall maintain the foundation, floors, walls, doors, windows, ceilings, roof, staircases, porches, chimneys, and other structural elements of his dwelling so that the dwelling excludes wind, rain and snow, and is rodent-proof, watertight and free from chronic dampness, weathertight, in good repair and in every way fit for the use intended. Further, he shall maintain every structural element free from holes, cracks, loose plaster, or other defect where such holes, cracks, loose plaster or defect renders the area difficult to keep clean or constitutes an accident hazard or an insect or rodent harborage.”

GENERAL LAWS PART I, TITLE XIX, CHAPTER 132B, SECTION 10:

“The department may authorize individuals to use pesticides in classifications as a certified commercial applicator, a certified private applicator, and a licensed applicator provided, however, that the department shall require that all persons who are applicators of pesticides in public and private places used for human occupation and habitation, except residential properties with three or less dwelling units, shall be so licensed or certified with such special designation.”

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