T complains of fleas

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    T complains of fleas

    my tenant of one and a half years has got fleas in the house for the last two months.
    He is asking me to get rid of them.

    Is this my responsibility?? I am grateful for any advice.

    the tenant does not have any pets and nor did the previous occupant. the carperts were steam cleaned before I brought the hiuse.


    Have you checked? I would expect to see bite marks, all over him if human fleas, ankles if animal fleas. I had this allegation from a tenant, when I went to see her, there were no marks anywhere (no funnies please, I was with my wife and we looked at her ankles). Strangely enough, the 'flea problem' disappeared after this.


      Tell the tenants that they are not allowed to keep pets!

      In reality, landlords are not responsible for tenants’ pests. However, to keep the peace and to maintain the quality of your property you may like to offer to buy a remedy to cure the problem. Keep it amicable.


        Originally posted by velvet
        the tenant does not have any pets and nor did the previous occupant. the carperts were steam cleaned before I brought the hiuse.
        If the tenants are indeed suffering from insect bites then these need not have arisen from domestic pets.

        Is the flat at ground level?
        Where on the body are these bites showing?
        When exactly did they first start happening?
        Are visitors too being affected?

        Have the tenants purchased any second hand furniture or furnishing - sometimes insect/ insect eggs can be imported in such objects. They can also be imported with baggage if the owners have been on holiday at a place affected by biting insect e.g. bugs.

        Insects can be carried by birds and the Martin Bug are Pigeon Bug will sometimes feed on humans. Look out for bird nests around the property!

        Cat and dog fleas are prevalent and the eggs of these fleas may hatch out after the dogs and cats have departed and attack new owners - particularly if they have no pets.

        In this case it may be best to seek advice from the Local Environmental Health Department and agree with the tenant beforehand on apportionment of cost depending on the diagnosis.

        From a landlord point of view it is imperative to deal with the problem in a professional manner and ensure the correct treatment is completed. It is important to avoid the possibility of future tenants being affected (and of course for the comfort of the current occupiers.)
        Vic - wicked landlord
        Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
        Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.



          I feel as if I am in potential deadlock with my tenant and would really appreciate some advice. A week after moving in my tenant reported a problem with fleas, a treatment was arranged via my agent and I agreed to a weeks rent rebate. To cut a long story short, 7 weeks, 3 full treatments, one fogging, one spraying later the problem apparently continues.

          I have agreed to a total of three weeks rebate (she says that she and her young daughter have been unable to live there). I have also now offered to release the tenant from the remainder of her contract on condition that she fulfils her rent obligations until a new tenant is found (which at this point shouldn't be difficult). I agreed to another treatment this week (no.4), preceded by a contractor to hoover, but this was delayed because she had not tidied any of her possessions as requested, preventing access to the floor for the cleaner. The tenant feels as though she is entitled to a rebate for all of her rent paid so far, because she has not been living full time at the property even though all of her possessions are there.

          I feel as if I have done everything requested and taken immediate action where she has requested it and she has not responded to my offering her a release from the contract (originally at her request). Whilst stating that she expects a rebate for all rents paid, she appears to be in no hurry to resolve the matter. So far she has paid her rent but I am worried that she will not now pay rent due. She does have a Guarantor.

          My previous tenant had a dog (not allowed under the terms of the contract), and although she paid a deposit,left owing a months rent so all of these treatments are coming out of my own pocket ( she has no money so I haven't pursued her).

          I think I am a fair landlord, I certainly try to be and I understand that this is not what she expected from her new home, but I really don't know what else I could or should do to resolve this situation satisfactorily for both parties, or what I should be expecting from my agents.

          Any advise would be very gratefully received


            You appear to have done what you can. What else can we say as it won't change anything much?
            The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


              I think you have been more than reasonable, and you do not have to allow her to leave early - you could hold her liable for the whole rent for the whole fixed term. Does she realise that? Disrepair is only a reason to terminate a tenancy if it is genuinely making a property unsafe/injurious to health and the LL is doing nothing about it. Nobody likes the idea of living with fleas (although most dog owners do, probably unwittingly), but she does sound a bit precious.

              You need to get to the root of why the flea problem is recurring (if indeed it is). The spray treatment usually works - how many applications have been made? Was it done by a reputable pest control company - what do they say about why it hasn't worked? In face, do you have any evidence that there are still fleas - it could just be a ruse to try to get out for the contract early for a different reason. (Found somewhere she likes better, cheaper, etc).

              I would resist compensating her fully because if nothing else, she has had the use of the house as a storage facility.
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


                once the fleas have been treated (i.e.sprayed) then they will only survive if there is a host (i.e. cat or dog). The house should of been sprayed then not hoovered for 10-14 days otherwise the chemicals wont have had time to kill the eggs and fleas.

                Hopefully you and your tenant were given this information when the treatment was done.


                  If a reputable pest control organisation cannot remove a flea infestation after four attempts, and you only have the tenant's word that the infestation remains then the tenant's word becomes highly suspicious. A section 21 notice should be sent to expire at the end of the fixed period of the AST and the tenant reminded that she will be liable for rent up until the end of that period unless she can prove to your satisfaction that this reputable company's treatments have been unsuccessful. If that is the case then the company should be asked to repeat the treatment until they are successful - at their expense. I bet it isn't though!

                  Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


                    Thank you all for your replies. Just to clarify, two different companies have carried out 3 full treatments, a further fogging was carried out and a spraying (separately, agent contractors have been in for other issues and have reported being bitten). None of the companies guarantee flea treatment, which seems pretty standard. I was due to have another treatment last week (from the council) and had asked the tenant to move as much as she could from the floors in order for the house to be hoovered (it was around 12 days from the previous treatment) prior to treatment. She didn't do this, the cleaner went home and the treatment counldn't be done.

                    I don't feel as if I should offer any further compensation (beyond the 3 week rebate), I am already spending a fortune but I am not sure where I stand if this should come to a dispute, if she refuses to pay the next months rent for example. Does she have a case against me?



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