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

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    Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
    Er..I think OP is the tenant.
    Cannot tell from post #1.
    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.
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      Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
      Cannot tell from post #1.
      I think that from a linguistic and pragmatic point of view, the balance of probability is that OP is the tenant:

      i wonder if sombody can advice me, i am renting a flat and there seems to b mouse in it. I have put some mouse/rat poison but they are still in my place. I told the agency regarding the problem and they havent done anything yet, any advice how to tackle that problem please??

      1 A LL would probably say 'letting' or 'renting out' rather than simply 'renting' unless followed by an indirect object (which there isn't, here).

      2 The letting agent would be the first port of call for a T, but not for a LL, especially if LL had already been proactive and put poison down himself - why would he then involve the agent? It would however be logical for a T to do so.

      3 'my place' is slightly less personal than 'my home' and sounds like a phrase a LL might use use for 'my property', however, since English is not OP's first language, I suggest it is more likely to be a synonym for 'home'.

      This could all be complete cobblers, of course!

      OP - are you landlord or tenant?
      '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


        Rats in my tenanted property - can I end tenancy?

        Hi all, I have come to this forum as I am distraught with the situation I am in..

        I have been renting a private property for 18 months, on a 6 months contract basis. I have just signed another 6 months contract last week (25th Feb)

        I called the letting agents yesterday as we had heard 'scrabbling' round under the floorboards upstairs over the last couple of days.. when the room was completely quiet.

        The Pest control have been out today, (after me pushing the LA very hard) and they have said that the whole of my upstairs floor is infested with sewer rats, as a previous bathroom with is now bedroom 3 has not had the soil/waste pipe blocked off securely when the property was renovated for renting out. They have bainted with poison, but have told me that within 2-3 days the house is going to start to smell, and that it will be unbearable.

        I feel sick to my stomach, and my 11 yr old daughter is frightened sick.

        My LA has told me to 'put my feelings down in an email' and thats it !!???

        I do not think that we should be living or allowed to live in a property that is rat infested and is going to start to smell in a couple of days.

        I want to end my tenancy early, and move somewhere else. I am disgusted of the lack of smpathy from my LA as they a horrible disgusting thing to have living in your house.

        I know that legalls I have signed up for a further 6 months, but under the circumstances, I would like any advice as to if I will be able to end the agreement early.As I dont think that my daughter will be able to live there anymore, and to be honest I dont think that I will either, my skin has got goosebumps at the thought of them up there now, never mind when they die !

        I have an 11yr old and a small baby (whose room the poison has just gone under the floorboards of) and I do not want to be shipped about if they have to rehouse us due to the smell??

        Somebody I have asked advice of, says that I should not be living there if it has been confirmed that there is a rat infestation, and also that dead rats are going to be under the whole of my upstairs floorboards.

        I feel like it is a huge health and safety risk to my self and more importantly to my children. (we also have 3 more children that stay weekends, who dont live with us)

        Any advice would be most welcomed, as I am worried sick, and disgusted that it seems to be treated as if it were nothing.

        I would like some help before I 'write me email airing my concerns' to the LA.

        Thanks in Advance..
        Tigger x


          if the property is that bad then it maybe deemed uninhabitable which would void any contractual obligations you have with LL. The problem herein lies at what stage the property is technically uninhabitable. If the infestation is that bad i fail to see how they plan to resolve the problem without literally taking all the floorboards etc up. Remember this is Landlords fault, he is obliged to maintain the foul water drains etc from the property and obviously has failed in such a significant way. Perhaps you should speak to your local environmental health officer, im sure they'd be able to point you in the right direction!
          [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]


            This is appalling.

            I think you must ring the EHO of your local council and describe the situtaion as you have described it here. Tell him what the Pest Control person said. Ask for an emergency visit from the EHO with a view to having the property deemed uninhabitable and ask what you should do about moving out.

            At the same time, you should write to your LL (send me a private message if you would like help wording the letter/email) explaining that the property is a serious risk to health, he is in clear breach of his statutory obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act and that unless he agrees immediately to pay for alternative accommodation or release you from your contract, you will be suing him for compensation.
            '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


              I have worked in places where each year rats have been poisoned. The smell is vile, very sickening, and seems to be everywhere, but what is worse is the flies, hundreds of the things. If it is the same as I have experienced in a place of work, then I would say that a home in the same state will be uninhabitable.

              My own landlord insurance covers situations where I have to re-house tenants, perhaps your landlord has this type of insurance? (or maybe it only covers fire/flood rather than plague?)
              I also post as Moderator2 when moderating



                Hi, thanks for the info, and advice.. this is an update on the situation.

                I told my LA over the phone that I wanted to leave the property, and to convey this to the LL. The LA couldnt get hold of the LL yesterday, but I rang them this morning, and they have spoke to her. (she is the mother of the owner of the property, but acts for him while he is out of the country).... oh that was another question.. Her name is down as landlord on my contract, does the OWNER of the property have to be down as the LL or can anoyone looking after thier interest be down as LL ??? Just a little question I was wondering about that.....

                Apparently she is very distressed at the situtation, and thats about all I got from the LA. She has asked for a quote to be given to her for the blocking up of the soil pipe, and the contractor is coming out today to do that.

                The pest control people said that they need to revisit in 10 days to remove any dead rats, and to further bait if needed, ONLY THEN can the soil pipe be blocked off. LL has not agreed to this as yet.

                When I spoke to LA yesterday, he appeared to be of the opinion 'well there isnt any smell yet, and the hasnt been any dead rats found yet' i.e. what am I getting in a flap about till it happens.

                My daughter had to sleep with me last night, and so OH was kicked out into her room, my OH ex wife had to be told, and she flipped and said that she would not be allowing her boys to come round until she was satsfied that it was all sorted rat free, and clean ! So now my OH cannot see his children........

                The LA told me this morning to tell the contractor what I would be happy with them doing, and to quote for that, and he will put it to the LL..

                So basically, I want all the upper floor floarboards removing, and all droppings cleaned away and all dead rats. This will be a huge inconvenience to us, as we will have to empty these 3 rooms for the work to be carried out.

                I cant see how we can get out of the contract, I have read it, and it is pretty one sided in the LL favour.

                We AGAIN had to try and enjoy our property last night, with the scuttling and clanking of pipes from the floor upstairs, and my baby, and daughter are just feet from all this going on.. makes me sick !

                I am waiting in anticipation of any smell arising, but they are still active up there as I type.

                I know the LL seems to be doing what is required, but I dont think that the LA or the LL realise how much stress this is causing us all.

                I think if the LL agrees to all the work that I require being carried out, then I will have no chance of getting out, but on the other hand, if it is thoroughly cleaned and secured, my daughter may feel a little more relaxed.

                Any suggestions after what I've said from anyone, I am really playing this blind, and this is the 1st time I have ever rented, so dont have any experience..

                Thanks everyone


                  The idea of leaving the pipe open is so that the rats take the poison back to the nest.

                  It should not be necessary to lift all floorboards, just enough to gain access.

                  The AST will not necessary list all the points of law which apply in this case.

                  Environmental Health should be able to advise you on health and safety issues and what action to take.
                  I also post as Moderator2 when moderating


                    Solicitor required please!

                    I need to instruct a solicitor regarding tenants taking me to court for rats disturbing their peace. I originally agreed to compensate but the tenants sought a sum equal to two months rent (just under £4,000). Having spent £3,500 getting rid of the rats, this came as a shock, shortly followed by the tenants giving notice. Advice previously received was that the compensation should be reached via agreement. I was so peeved by what I saw as an unreasonable demand that I was just happy to let the matter rest and for the tenants to leave. However I am now being taken to the County Court (poss small claims court?) so I am now looking for a solicitor.

                    I am still happy to compensate but have no idea regarding what is reasonable.

                    Any suitably qualified solicitors please provide your contact details!



                      Rat infestation can happen anywhere, what was the cause of it in your case?
                      Did the tenants do, or not do, anything to help cause the situation? How come it cost you 3500 to cure it?
                      It sounds like you are a victim of the compensation culture, somebody has advised your ex-tenants they can make a few quid out of you.
                      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


                        Thanks JTA.
                        It is not 100% clear but it is possible the rats got under the floorboards via a broken airbrick and then into the house via holes left behind from when a previous owner installed a new kitchen without filling in holes in the floorboards left by the previous kitchen. On balance of probability, it’s less likely that the rats came in an open door and then found the holes in the kitchen floorboards.

                        The tenants reported the initial problem and Merton Council visited, reporting that they could find no evidence of rats so no further action was taken. Some time later the tenants reported problems again and this time “Tom the rat catcher” (the managing agent’s contractor) laid traps and some were caught. The tenants did not follow Tom’s advise and the problem got worse (I have a report from Tom confirming this). Because oft he difficulties between the tenants and Tom I then turned to Rentokill which even used industrial tac boards although they did not catch anything.

                        Tom is not the only contractor used by the managing agents whom the tenants have fallen out with, with Morrels (who I think are brilliant) refusing to enter the house again whilst the tenants are in occupation, which limits my ability to tender work. This is one reason why I found it easy to put the whole thing to one side rather than face up to the compensation.

                        It cost £3,500 (probably closer to £4,000 with VAT) split between three sets of visits by the rat catchers and then taking down the kitchen and refitting it.

                        Hence I’m now looking for a solicitor.



                          Not being a solicitor myself, I can only generalise, however, it sounds as if you did everything you were required to do and they still were not satisfied.
                          Their claim for 4000 is almost certainly inflated, have they claimed for anything the rats may have damaged or spoiled? If it's a small claims court you could probably deal with the matter yourself, you will certainly get some good advice from the legal types on this board, although, if they have a lawyer in court it's probably best to have your own. The trouble with that though is that it's like pouring money down a drain, (no offence to you lawyers out there).
                          Hang on for a bit, I'm sure someone will give you a bit more definitive advice.
                          I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


                            This board is now getting so respected and such a reputation for useful information on all sorts of landlord/tenant and all other matters connected with the legal process of buying, selling and renting property that a number of solicitors, barristers (and possibly judges in mufti) take time out of their working day to post free advice here. Indeed I have seen at least one case in which a solicitor has posted requesting advice for a matter with which she was dealing as even her firm did not know the answer! Needless to say she received a comprehensive one from Jeffrey, one of our topic experts. The contact details of these solicitors is not difficult to find and in addition we have several advertisers who are equally capable of dealing wilh all sorts of property and landlord/tenant problems. May I suggest that you contact one of these individuals?
                            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.


                              Prepare to counter sue

                              Get the legal advice but also look at the detail of the AST there should be a section on what is expected of the tenants with regard the upkeep of the property. If Pest Control were called out once to deal with the problem and advice was given to your tenants. If you can prove that they did not act on that advice and their inaction caused or contributed significantly to the problem then surely you have a possible claim under the terms of the contract. Certainly the written professional opinion of at least 2 Pest Control companies goes in your favour. You have to be a little suspicious of a tenant who falls out with not 1 but 2 Pest Control Companies (night's in shining armour)? There is free legal advice through the links in the forum. Or do a local search in your high street Shop Around!


                                Have been in touch with Env Health and they have told me our neighbours have been in touch too (some of her other tenants). The water in next doors cellar turned out to be sewage and shes been pumping it out into our front gardens. Env health have told me from the info myself and the neighbours have given him the place will almost definately be condemmed.

                                He warned that once they start proceedings it will be out of my hands and that the landlord usually issues a section 21 notice on the tennants so i need to be prepared.

                                All i can say is thanks for the advice, looks like i'm getting somewhere now so cheers.


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