Problems with rodent infestation: mouse/mice/rats/etc.

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    #76
    yeah so do i!

    i am supposed to hand in the keys today but the office is closed! i rang the number but there is no alternative contact numbers. shall i put the keys through the letter box or hold on to them?

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      #77
      Originally posted by Shelly24 View Post
      yeah so do i!

      i am supposed to hand in the keys today but the office is closed! i rang the number but there is no alternative contact numbers. shall i put the keys through the letter box or hold on to them?

      I would hold onto them until you can get a receipt for them - otherwise the agent/LL could claim you never handed them back in and continue to charge you rent (assuming they weren't going to do that aready). To cover yourself you could serve a notice though their door in the moring (get a witness) stating that you have given up the tenancy as of (date) and that you will attemptt again to hand in the keys on Monday - however keys may be collected from (address) before then, if wished.

      Good luck in your new home, Shelly.
      '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

      Comment


        #78
        Rats & Damp ruining the house

        Am a tenant who has rats & damp in the house. Have informed the landlady - who couldnt give a monkeys. I've got environmental services out to lay down bait. Only problem is they are coming in through a crack in the wall caused by subsidence - have eaten their way in through the inner walls and there are holes all over the property. They are in the roof space messing up the loft insulation and they have munched their way through the carpets.

        I am concerned i will be left with the bill at the end of the tenancy. I notified our landlady about the rats a year ago and was told i was being paraniod and that they were probably only mice despite seeing one in the front room and that the holes in the garden were moles (i'm a ex-londoner so patronised when it comes to rural affairs!!). She wont let me into the loft to see what the damage is - am worried they have been eating through the cables because the lights keep flickering. Worried about a fire, all the 5 cottages share the same loft space.

        We have only been here a year. I moved the bookcase to give it a dusting and found a patch of damp behind it - carpet destroyed, mould all over the antique bookcase and the wall was bubbling with the damp. I know the last tenants had problems with damp and the landlord had spent alot of money trying to fix it. One of the other neighbours has had to throw out most of her wardrobe because it got covered in mould. Landlady not interested. There is no heating in any of the properties - we just have a wood burner that's about as much help as a candle in the artic circle. The damp just makes it impossible for the house to get warm.

        We get a build up of mould on the walls and I air it as much as I can, i'm sitting here with snow on the ground outside with the windows flung open! I bleach the walls about once a month to try and keep on top of it but the mould is making its way into the carpets now. I'm terrified i am going to be left with the bill to renovate the cottage once we have left - is the only possible reason i dont think shes bothered about any of these problems.

        Shes marketed next doors property as having central heating - let it out to a very young couple with a baby (their first property away from home) and a year later they still have no heating being promised she will install it "soon" every time they speak to her and they have cellar perminantly filled with about a foot of water! Shes about to use the same trick with one of the other cottages - she's incredible!

        Where do i stand with this all? How can i prevent her pocketing our deposit - what steps do i need to take legally now? She will never put anything in writing (shes been there before) and she just ramps up the rent when she thinks you're likely to be a problem. I do want to leave but need to secure my £950 deposit before we make tracks to inform her we've had enough.

        I have had lots of very lovely landlords in the past and this woman gives landlords a bad rep. Very old school and isn't going to change or be someone to reason with. She is incredibly wealthy so going to court could be a problem if it got to that stage. We have a lack of cash at the moment so cant rock the boat too much - which is probably how shes got away with this with previous tenants to be honest.

        Can anyone offer some advise? Have any of you been here before? or point me in the right direction?

        Comment


          #79
          This sounds like a real nightmare - your LL may be in breach of her obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act, although the responsibility for paying for the rat problem to be eliminated, may also depend on what is written in your tenancy agreement. I'm sure we will be able to offer you some useful advice about it. Before we can do that, please could you say

          1 whether your tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy (or something else)
          2 Whether your landlady put your deposit into a deposit protection scheme within 14 days of receiving it and whether she has supplied you with all the details of the scheme and how to access your personal tenant ID (which she is legally required to do). I have a hunch she may not have, which may be a reallly good lever for either getting out of the property early (if that is what you want to do?) or getting repairs effected.
          3 What does the tenancy agreement say about pest control and elimination, if anything?
          3 more about where you are up to with the Environmental Health Officer's involvement - when did you contact him? What has he said so far about the property and do you have anything in writing? Have you informed your LL at each stage?
          '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

          Comment


            #80
            Thanks for your help its much appreciated.

            1) Its an assured shorthold tenancy (term 12 months)
            2) We have been provided with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme info - was stapled to the back of the agreement.
            3) There is no mention of pest control or elimination anywhere in it.
            4) Have had the environmental officer round twice already and he's now coming once a week to lay the bait. He said that the rats have entered through the crack in the wall and the missing tiles on the side of the building. The crack down the back wall is about 3 inches wide almost right the way up. They've been having a party in there.

            Have found a clause in the agreement that says that the landlord agrees to "repair and keep in good substantial repair and in clean and proper order decoration and condition the structure and exterior of the property and those parts of the building including the common parts and foundations main structure roof and external walls and all other load bearing walls and window frames of the building."

            There is a clause in there that may suggest we are responsible for the mildew though...we agree as tenants to: "Keep the property at all times sufficiently well aired and warmed to avoid build up of condensation and prevent mildew growth and to protect it against frost" ....is this unusual in a tenancy agreement?

            We do have a signed inventory of the place with no mention of damage to the carpets. They were almost brand new when we arrived (from all the work they had done to sort the damp).

            Thanks again for your help.

            Comment


              #81
              I know you have the pest control guys round but have you spoken to Environmental Health. If you can get them round they do have some teeth.
              You need all the ammunition you can get.
              I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

              Comment


                #82
                The premises are defective and should be rectified by the landlord to whom you have presumably pointed out the crack (unless you are a surveyor how do you know it's as a result of subsidence?).

                The landlord is in breach of S.11 Landlord & Tenant Act 1977, and probably the Defective Premises Act 1972 too.

                If there is any cost to you concerning the vermin infestation until the crack is sealed then you could deduct it from your rent. If you don't get any change from your landlord and want to determine the AST early then it appears you might have grounds to do so. The support of the EHO you have contacted is likely if you ask nicely for a letter to confirm your problem.
                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.

                Comment


                  #83
                  Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                  If there is any cost to you concerning the vermin infestation until the crack is sealed then you could deduct it from your rent.
                  Be sure to follow the procedure outlined in Lee Parker v Izzet though, if you want the maximum security (google the case and you will find several explanations, but do ask if they are not clear).

                  Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                  If you don't get any change from your landlord and want to determine the AST early then it appears you might have grounds to do so.
                  Not sure what the legal authority for this would be, unless it is a furnished tenancy and was unfit when let - could you advise?

                  Preston

                  Comment


                    #84
                    Originally posted by Preston View Post
                    Be sure to follow the procedure outlined in Lee Parker v Izzet though, if you want the maximum security (google the case and you will find several explanations, but do ask if they are not clear).
                    Tenant cannot be held responsible for vermin if the landlord has not taken reasonable precautions to prevent this, so it appears the tenant has a remedy if the landlord fails to act . The case you mention is about a tenant who executed repairs on their own account and I have not suggested this.


                    Not sure what the legal authority for this would be, unless it is a furnished tenancy and was unfit when let - could you advise?
                    Preston
                    S.11 does not rely upon whether the premises is furnished or not, merely that it is in a good state of repair. The DPA is when a landlord becomes aware of a defect he should take steps to remedy it within a reasonable time.
                    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.

                    Comment


                      #85
                      Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                      S.11 does not rely upon whether the premises is furnished or not, merely that it is in a good state of repair. The DPA is when a landlord becomes aware of a defect he should take steps to remedy it within a reasonable time.
                      Hi

                      I agree that Lee Parker v Izzet relates to the right of offset for repairs. Its the nearest authority I am aware of; if you know of a better one I would be very keen to hear of it.

                      The LL and T Act does not require good repair, but merely repair and proper repair. Its a crucial difference; good repair is often the terminology used in tenancy agreements and it goes significantly beyond the strict statutory requirement.

                      But the interesting issue is that in your earlier post you suggested that the tenant may have the right to determine the tenancy early. Section 11 does not confer this right; I thought you might have been referring to the special rights enjoyed by tenants of furnished accommodation. If not, I would be interested in the authority for this?

                      Preston

                      Comment


                        #86
                        My opinion is that the landlord might be frustrating the tenancy, and preventing the tenant having 'quiet enjoyment' and they might want to use this as a reason for early determination if the landlord fails to act, and other avenues of remedy have been exhausted, should the landlord pursue the tenant through the courts for lost rent.

                        To keep in repair implies good repair.
                        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.

                        Comment


                          #87
                          Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                          My opinion is that the landlord might be frustrating the tenancy, and preventing the tenant having 'quiet enjoyment' and they might want to use this as a reason for early determination if the landlord fails to act, and other avenues of remedy have been exhausted, should the landlord pursue the tenant through the courts for lost rent.
                          This issue has been debated on a few threads and its actually quite difficult to frustrate a tenancy. I do not think that failure to deal with pests is likely to be sufficient grounds, but I would be interested to hear any authorities you have on this point.

                          Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                          To keep in repair implies good repair.
                          I really think you are wrong here. There is well established case law making it clear that good repair is a higher standard that repair or proper repair, (e.g. Welsh v Greenwich LBC, 2000). I have seen many agents and lawyers miss this point and thereby direct their client landlords rather blindly towards a significantly higher repairing obligation.

                          Preston

                          Comment


                            #88
                            Originally posted by Ericthelobster
                            That sounds like a hell of a crack.
                            Subsidence maybe?
                            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                            Comment


                              #89
                              Originally posted by jta View Post
                              Subsidence maybe?
                              Is the house old or relatively new (e.g. < 10 yrs. old)? If new, perhaps NHBC covers its subsidence.
                              In London, it could be settlement due to rising water table and/or drying-out of clay strata.
                              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                              Comment


                                #90
                                Originally posted by jta View Post
                                Subsidence maybe?
                                Well that was my first thought, but whatever the reason then surely a crack that size needs checking out by a pro. If it were my property I'd be getting a structural engineer in pronto; the trouble here is that if the T asks the LL about it, by the sounds of her, she'll probably say it's been checked and is fine - but the T won't know if she's lying.

                                Isn't this something to talk to Environmental Health about? I would have thought that a 3" crack would make them sit up and take notice, more so than a bit of mould.

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