Does beehive removal from the structure of the home fall under the tenant’s responsibility for pest control?

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Does beehive removal from the structure of the home fall under the tenant’s responsibility for pest control?

Recently we noticed bees swarming around the rear of the home and going under the siding. There is an extensive hive built under the siding and inside the walls of the home and it is going to be several hundred dollars, if not more, to take care of the problem. They are also possibly in the attic. We do have bees inside the house and have been stung several times. Our dog was stung so badly I had to take her to an emergency vet. Landlord said we are responsible. However this is a safety issue, and not not a normal “pest” issue like roaches or fleas. How does the law interpret this?

Asked on July 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is a health and safety infestation that affects your ability to inhabit the home-- which means it's the landlord's responsbility to fix (unless you have an odd provision in your lease agreement that says otherwise).  A tenant has the right to the normal use and enjoyment of the property you rent.  Bees in your home, in the attic, and under the house is not normal and prevents your normal use of the home.  You have a couple of options.  (1) Give the landlord a written request to repair the situation-- and break the lease if he fails to fix it in a reasonable time; (2) call the local health inspector and complain that this landlord is making you live like this, (3) file a similar complaint with the Attorney General's office (they have an online complaint system), (4)  hire an attorney for the limited purpose of sending the demand letter discussed above for you.  Another non-legal option is to get a bee keeper to come and take the bees.  There are actually some people out there that "collect" colonies-- and yours sounds like a larger one.  Often, they will come and get them for free and relocate them.  Just as an FYI though-- talk to him about the type of bees you have.  Many are tempted to return to the same hive location every so often-- which means history could be repeating itself in a year or two--- and you may want to go ahead and look for a new home that is safer for your family in the long run.


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