Cockroaches in communal hallway

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    Cockroaches in communal hallway

    Hi there

    Hoping someone can help with this query.

    Me and my flatmate moved into our rented property in September 2009. Our flat is in an Edwardian terrace on a commercial street. The terrace house is divided into two shops on the ground floor, and one flat is located above each shop. The shops are a hairdressers and a clothes shop (our flat is located above the clothes shop). You access the two flats through a communal hallway (the entry to this hallway being on the main road, between the entry to the shops). The communal hallway also has a door at the back that leads into another hallway which is the property of the hairdresser.

    Our flat was in good condition when we moved in, if we have any issues we report them to the landlord. The communal hallway is in what I would describe as slight disrepair (a few holes in the wall, sightly old lino)- but not in a terrible mess. To access our flat, after opening the front door off the hallway,you go up a flight of stairs, on the 1st floor there is one double bedroom, on the second floor there is second double bedroom, a utility room and a lounge, on the third floor there is a bathroom and kitchen and storage cupboard.

    The flats both have different leaseholders; we have never met the freeholder. I am unsure of the arrangement for the shops but assume that they are run by the leaseholders and not rented - but I may be wrong.

    About two weeks ago, I returned to the flat late one evening, to find cockroach crawling up the first flight of stairs in our flat. I tried to sweep it out - but was not successful (it curled up into a defensive ball). So had to leave it. There has been no other evidence of cockroaches in our flat since then.

    However, there has been evidence of cockroaches in the communal hallway. We have found about 6 dead cockroaches (we think they are German) over the course of the last two weeks - and occasionally the odd live cockroach (only ever at night). We have mentioned to our landlord - but he has said it is not his responsibility to deal with infestations. We have contacted our council who have told us they can exterminate but suggest telling our landlord.

    We are nearly 100 per cent sure the problem is not from within our flat. We are considering paying for the cockroaches to be exterminator - but the problem is if it is not our flat, then getting the communal hallway treated will not actually assist us, as it won't treat the nest.

    We have not mentioned to our neighbours next door (but will be doing so tomorrow - and also assume that they have probably seen the dead roaches). We have raised with the hairdressers (who have a hallway that you can access behind our communal hallway). The hairdresser assured us that their hallway was not the problem and they never use it. This is despite the fact that on several previous occasions we have seen the door left unlocked and rubbish left in bin bags in there. However, they said if we got an exterminator in, they would give us access to their hallway.

    Tonight, the hairdressers door leading to the hallway was left open. My flatmate took photos as evidence that it is in use. The hallway is very cluttered, and surprise, surprise their were cockroaches in there (tangled up in a pile of hair in a corner).

    I am going to speak with the hairdressers tomorrow morning but we have a few legal questions regarding this.

    1. Who is responsible for the communal hallway (there is nothing in the AST)?
    2. If cockroaches get into our flat - who is responsible for footing the bill for the infestation? (again nothing in the AST and searches on the internet have proved inconclusive) I assume its good practice for our landlord to pay, but that those who caused it should foot the final bill
    3. Will an EH officer be able to locate the origins of the cockroach problem?
    4. How can we get the hairdressers (and other leaseholders/tenants in the building to co-operate. There is no point us treating a tiny part of the problem when it is just going to come back.

    We are keen to avoid a situation of stalemate - and just really want to take action, but obviously knowing that we can be compensated for any expense this may cause us and that the problem is ultimately resolved.

    Any advice gratefully received!

    Commandment No. 11 for tenants. Thou shalt not keep pets without the consent in writing of the landlord which shall not be unreasonably withheld!!!!

    1. Landlord
    2. Landlord
    3. Unless the german cockroaches can communicate to the english EH officer from whence they came - No
    4. Capture Cockroach in jamjar. Take to hairdressers (preferably while shes got load of customers in under dryers) and otherleaseholders and show them and ask "Would you like these in your shop/premises/whatever? If not, will you co-operate with a pest controller/landlord or whoever to eradicate them from the whole of the building?" If answer is no - capture rest of cockroaches, insert through the "no's" letterboxes, then call EH officer in and direct them to where you left the little buggers!!!!!! If answer is yes, capture more cockroaches and offer them their fair share!


      Thanks David.

      I actually went to see the hairdresser's today. They apparently rent the shop as well. The lady I spoke to will give us access to the hallway, but not sure about the shop itself - and suggested there was a problem a couple of years ago but not from within her shop. Basically she said the cockroaches were some how coming down from the roof (sounds dodgy to me!). She didn't sound too bothered that the cockroaches were in part of her shop. And more to the poin suggested that the communal hallway was the resposibility ofwhoever owns the flats (even though she admitted to me this morning they take the rubbish out through there - so she is either trespassing or lying!)

      I spoke to our local CAB this morning - and they were helpful - but basically we have to ascertain who is responsible for the upkeep of this communal area (and this is only improtant because it affects who we will be billing!).


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