You’ve finally secured the perfect rental property and in the current real estate market, you’re ready to celebrate. However, once you’ve moved in, you discover you’ve got loads of creepy crawly cockroach housemates!

What should you do? And more importantly, who is responsible for cockroaches in rental properties – the tenant or the landlord?

Who is responsible for eradicating cockroaches in rental properties?

According to the Residential Tenancies Authority, all Queensland properties must meet minimum housing standards as stated on their website on 1st September 2023. The property manager or owner needs to ensure the property is free from pests, including cockroaches, when the tenant moves in and throughout the tenancy agreement. However, this will not apply if cockroaches are present due to the tenant’s actions.

Typically, responsibility for pest control works like this:

  • the landlord is responsible for fumigation if cockroaches are present at the beginning of the tenancy or if an infestation occurs during the tenancy as a result of the property not meeting the minimum standards.
  • the tenant is responsible for pest control if cockroaches appear during the tenancy because the property has not been properly maintained – this includes neglected or insufficient cleaning, not disposing of rubbish, and allowing clutter and mess to build up.

Pest control spraying for cockroaches in Brisbane rental

When should I call the property manager/landlord?

It’s important to advise your real estate agent or landlord about a cockroach infestation as soon as possible – this is especially critical if the pests are present on the day you move in as this is evidence that you are not responsible for the infestation. Your landlord will need to address the issue promptly.

If your landlord expects you to deal with pest control yourself, contact the RTA for advice on next steps. Make sure you’re aware of your rights as a tenant. For example, the property manager or landlord cannot make you use a specific pest control product or service or pay a set fee for one. These are offences under the Act.

What can I do to ensure my rental property remains cockroach-free?

A property doesn’t need to be dirty to attract cockroaches, especially in a city like Brisbane. Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture, and an unfortunate side effect of living in Brisbane is that it’s humid and moist for a large portion of the year.

Cockroaches can also get into your rental property through gaps that were built into the design of the property. For example, if it’s an old Queenslander home, gaps were designed to allow air to flow freely through the building, to keep everything cool. Unfortunately, sometimes cockroaches have infested nearby properties and decide to sneak into yours as well.

To maintain a cockroach-free home, ensure you keep your kitchen and dining area free of food crumbs and debris. Check your home for any water leaks or other sources of moisture, including steam from the shower or gaps in windows that can provide the moisture cockroaches need to survive. Seal any gaps or cracks as best you can to prevent cockroaches from getting into spaces behind walls and multiplying. Declutter any spaces prone to messes such as in drawers, cupboards, and cabinets to limit hiding places.

What if cockroaches keep returning?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve tried everything possible and cockroaches just keep returning. Some cockroaches appear to be immune to store bought treatments. That’s when it’s time to call in the experts!

Brisbane Pest Control can assess the level of infestation and develop a plan to deal with the cockroaches effectively. Treatment options can range from baiting, spraying, dusting, and heat treatments. Make sure you act quickly as soon as you notice the presence of cockroaches to prevent a much larger infestation – which is much harder to be rid of!


Brisbane City Pest Control is the number one pest control service for renters.
Contact us for a quote today!