Tennant seeking compensation following a Bed Bug infestation in her bedroom.

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    Tennant seeking compensation following a Bed Bug infestation in her bedroom.

    Hi,

    I am wondering if anybody could give me some advise on the following:

    I have a 4 bedroom flat in Harrow, London, rented to the current tenants since 29th September 19 under a AST agreement.

    I have appointed the letting agent to manage the property for me and on 30th Jan 20 I received a call to inform me that one of the tenants had made a complaint about a bed bug infestation in her room..
    I gave the go ahead for a pest controller to visit the property and carry out treatment without delay.

    The pest controller visited the property, said "the room was not overly infested but need to be treated before it got worse", he informed the tenant that they could not stay in the room while the treatment was carried out and that this would take a 10 day period.

    The treatment has now been carried out , the tenant stayed in an Air B&B while the treatment was ongoing.

    The tenant has now claimed that she first noticed bites in mid-October but had only reported this to her parents at the time, and not to the letting agent. She has forwarded photos and text messages to the letting agent that seem to support the fact she had received bites by Nov 30th 2019.

    At the time of the pest treatment the tenants father became involved in the correspondence over and back between the letting agent and the tenant.
    He went into detail to explain that there was no way( in his opinion) that his daughter could have brought the bed bugs into the room, and that they must have been present before she arrived.
    He made a request that his daughter be reimbursed the cost of her accommodation for the 10 days, the cost for her to launder her clothes(as recommended by the pest controller) , and compensation for her trauma and suffering for the period this has been going on.

    I responded to the letting agent to say that I had no intention of offering compensation of any sort, from my point of view if the problem existed in Oct/Nov19 then it should have been reported to the letting agent so that it could have been dealt with before it became a major issue. I also highlighted that although the tenants father outlined in detail that his daughter could not possibly have brought the bed bugs into the room , in my opinion there are many ways in which the bed bugs could have been introduced to the room in the time of her tenancy, like a friend visiting or returning from a trip etc. There had been no reports of bed bugs from the previous tenants and when informed of the issue I instructed the treatment to go ahead immediately.

    The tenant's father has since responded back to say he has sought legal advise from 3 separate practices and that they have told him he has a strong case against me. He states:
    "The presiding advice being that landlords are legally obligated to provide habitable living conditions and there is no reasonable grounds to ascertain that the tenant brought the bed bugs with her from her previous residence.
    Compensation claim calculators seem to indicate potential claims ranging from £6,700 to £97,500 depending on the severity of the bites and whether the bites result in permanent scaring."

    He goes on to make a settlement offer of £3140 based on the 5 months rent she had paid to date plus the cost of her 10 days accommodation and the cost to launder her clothes.



    From my point of view I feel I have acted perfectly reasonably by instructing the bed bug issued be dealt with as soon as it was brought to my attention and I fail to see what grounds the tenant or her father would have to bring a case against me.

    Does anyone have any experience of a similar situation or have any advise on how I should proceed?


    Thank you in advance.


    #2
    Who paid the cost of the tenants stay in the AirB&B?

    Comment


      #3
      Does the airbnb now have bedbugs?

      You maybe have to consider the personal stress of taking these jokers on in court.

      I think I would pay the £3k on the condition tenant moves out immediately. It'll be worth that to be rid of her, I think.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Mrs Mug View Post
        Who paid the cost of the tenants stay in the AirB&B?
        Hi Mrs. Mug-The tenant paid the cost of the AirB&B , but is seeking reimbursement of that money within the request for the 3K compensation figure.

        Comment


          #5
          As the property was uninhabitable, due to the pest control treatment, you should have paid for the alternative accommodation. You could then claim the cost back from your landlord's insurance.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JN001 View Post
            The tenant's father has since responded back to say he has sought legal advise from 3 separate practices and that they have told him he has a strong case against me.
            Until you hear from one of them, I'd ignore this as a hopeless bluff - who needs to get the same legal advice three times and then decide not to use any of them to pursue the issue?

            If you are confident that the tenant introduced the bed bugs, you don't owe them anything and weren't responsible to pay to have the bugs removed in the first place.
            By accepting responsibility for removing the bugs, you have also made yourself liable for the cost of the alternative accommodation, because that cost arose out of your action.

            Personally, I'd decline to deal with the tenant's father as they are not involved in the issue and have no legal standing.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              If he had a case the solicitor would have advised him to send you a Letter Before Action. The fact that he didn't speaks volumes imo.

              Comment


                #8
                You can get bed bugs if you brush against somebody in the train, bus, shop etc. If they have a bed bug on their coat it'll get onto you and then into your house. The father will not be able to prove this didn't happen.

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