Pigeons in a Rental — Who Sorts It Out?

When you own the property you're living in, working out who is responsible for a pest problem, such as pigeons, is quite simple. It's your responsibility. If you own the land, property or building, you are in charge of getting rid of the pests.

What happens when you live in a rented property, however? Whose responsibility is it then to remove pest pigeons? The answer, sadly, can be quite complicated. Here's why ...

Pigeons are known to be a creature of habit, and they'll often return to a roost that they used before, even if they used that roost many years before. If there is a source of food or space for shelter, the pigeons will roost. The pigeons will continue to roost the entire time they have the opportunity to.

In terms of pest control, it is usually down to the renter to take care of the property and ensure that a pest problem doesn't arise. This will mean keeping garbage bags stored tidily and not left out for rats and other scavengers to devour leftovers and waste food. It also means making sure that bird feeders are taken inside as soon as you realize that you have a pigeon problem. If you keep feeding these animals, they'll continue to come back. If you have a source of shelter for the birds, however, they will return to that source and THEN find food close by. Food comes in abundance and in a multitude of places when you're a pigeon, including many plants that the average house would have growing in the back garden.

If you do not keep your property clean and waste-free, you are essentially attracting pigeons and then encouraging them to stick around. In terms of pest control, it could be seen as YOUR responsibility to get rid of them, because you were the ones who caused them to be there in the first place.

However, pigeons get tricky because they could have potentially roosted in that building a few years back. Let's say that there was a pigeon problem five years back, and you moved in three years ago. If the property owner didn't successfully and effectively seal the home and remove all sources of food, shelter, and potential landing or roosting spots for the birds, it would only have been a matter of time before they moved right back in again. With a very good memory working on their side, the pigeons can remember the older roosting spots for many, many years, calling upon those roosting spots when they need to.

If you *did* keep your rented home free from waste and, therefore, pests, but your property owner didn't not effectively pigeon-proof the building when he had a problem with them all those years ago, it wouldn't be your responsibility (as the renter) to get rid of them. It would be the property owner's responsibility.

If you find yourself with a pigeon problem in your rented home, give your landlord or rental agency a call and let them know of the problem. If you can, send them pictures — where the birds are landing and roosting, where they are defecating, and what damage has arisen as a direct result. It works in your landlord's favour to get the problem resolved, as pigeon feces is known to have a very corrosive nature to it, and this can reduce the lifespan of a roof by as much as fifty percent. That means replacing the roof or parts of the roof every ten years (for example) rather than every twenty years. Not just affecting the roof, pigeon poop can also have a detrimental effect on soil, and may even contaminate food or water sources.

A landlord or rental agency cannot sort out a pigeon problem if they do not know about it, so by holding the information back, you're actually making your own situation worse. If you do not inform them of the new pest, you could then be held responsible for not just the removal of the flock, but also the repair costs to cover damage the birds caused, as well as cleanup of feces. The latter is well known to carry and spread a potentially fatal mix of diseases and afflictions.

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