The Advertiser - Real Estate

Hello possums! Please get out of my property … Rental Advice

- Paul Edwards, REISA legislatio­n and policy adviser

The possums in my roof are keeping me up at night. Does my landlord have to get rid of them? possum noises that tenants make to me over the phone are quite unbelievab­le.

The simple answer to possums though is that the landlord is responsibl­e for removing them and then sealing the entry points to your roof. So contact your landlord or property manager, ask for them to be removed and start enjoying a good night’s sleep.

More good news for tenants is that landlords are also responsibl­e for white ants, birds and bees and wasps if the latter are inside a wall cavity.

But what about all the other pests that are out there? Ants, cockroache­s, fleas, mice rats and snakes are all the stuff of killer insect movies and so it is a good time to revisit whose responsibi­lity it is to get rid of all these other critters.

Your landlord is usually responsibl­e for getting rid of any pests at the start of your tenancy because they have an obligation under tenancies law to provide you with a property that is reasonably clean.

That is why it is so important to check the property before you sign the lease. Look for any pest infestatio­ns like droppings in cupboards or on carpets. Check out any possible entry points at the back of kitchen drawers. And make sure you note any issues on the ingoing inspection sheet.

Most often though you will not notice a pest infestatio­n (especially fleas) until after you have moved in. If this is the case, then notify your landlord or property manager immediatel­y and ask them to remedy the situation. Do it quickly – as soon as you notice it – because the longer you leave it, the harder it will be for you to prove that they were there at the start of the tenancy and not caused later by you and your activities.

As a tenant, you are usually responsibl­e for getting rid of any pests after you have moved into the property and have started your lease.

Again, this situation is all about communicat­ion. Pests can often be a cause of dispute between you and your landlord so it is best to inform your landlord of any infestatio­n and come to a workable solution. Don’t ignore the problem because those few ants in the kitchen can very quickly turn your house into an ant’s nest. Communicat­ion is essential in these types of situations.

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