Mice on move in and "professional clean"

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    Mice on move in and "professional clean"

    *Apologies if there has been a similar thread but couldn't find one in my forum search*

    Hi all,

    2 days ago I received the keys for my room in a 4 bed rented flat. I had viewed it once about 3 weeks prior in a 5 minute zip around held by current tenant. The flat was rented through an agency (a fairly new and inexperienced one advertised by my university) however they do not manage the property. I paid my deposit, admin fees and first months rent before I got the keys. Within 15 minutes I entered the kitchen and found a "rat glue trap" running along the bottom counter. I immediately called the agent (who gave me the keys) and he contacted landlord. Landlord said it was an issue "6 years ago" and precautions kept in place to stop mice coming back. After a little more searching I found droppings in a corner of the living room (obviously not a place regularly cleaned) however none in the kitchen. I also found two more unset traps around the flat. Then I went into my room:

    Underneath and around the bedside table were 5-6 droppings. On further inspection there are chewed pieces of paper and droppings behind the bed and behind the wardrobe. Now this contradicts another issue: my tenancy says that as the tenant I agree to have the flat "professionally cleaned" when I vacate. A) I thought you could only ask the tenant to restore the property to the state it was received on move in (i.e - if it was spotless you could clean it to the same state if you were THAT precise at cleaning yourself) and B) there is no way this has been professionally cleaned, it has barely been "cleaned": there are cobwebs in all the ceiling corners, hair and dust and receipts/bits of plastic underneath the furniture, the skirting boards are so thick with dust you cannot see the white paint, the (black) fireplace is grey as its so thick with dust, there is a rolled up Nandos menu in the hole in the door and all the cupboards/draws have bits inside them.I assume the last tenant put the vacuum around the visible bits and left and it has not been touched since. I have not received an inventory yet but videod all the dirt and damage (walls have massive grease stains and cream carpet has burn marks and 5 large liquid stains) but can I safely assume I do not have to pay a cleaning charge nor spend 2 days cleaning (like I did in the flat I just vacated) to get it to a high standard?

    Back to the mice: I sent videos of the droppings to the agent who contacted the landlord again. The landlord then rang me himself and said he had no idea of the issue and that he is trying to contact the other tenant (who I had not met yet) to gauge the problem and that he is sorry and will contact a pest company. The landlord himself seems fair and I do not believe he had prior knowledge of the issue HOWEVER it is surely his responsibility to make sure the flat and room is "habitable" before I move in? Furthermore (from having an infestation when I moved into a student flat last year which was the landlords fault and from having mice in my childhood home due to filthy neighbours) I know food should not be kept out and not in low/floor cupboards. I opened the floor cupboard to find scraps of food, sauce stains, cereal, bits of chocolate etc all over the cupboard bottom - it was absolutely vile and unlike anything I've seen (and I've lived as a student and seen student houses). This signifies to me that even if the landlord sends out pest control who fill up holes etc (it is victorian style terrace house with extension and we are the top flat, I've noticed big holes in skirting and outputs and in hall cupboard) the problem cannot be rectified if the other tenants (2 young guys) are not willing to pull their weight to fix it. When I met the other tenant the next day he said he had seen one mouse a few times a few months ago and so laid the traps down and then hadn't seen it since (though did not catch any). He was not aware of the droppings however but had no idea how long they could of been there as cleaners come in for the communal areas and it is in a far corner of the lounge.

    This was yesterday, where the landlord rang again to say he is sending around a pest company sometime this week. However I have not moved in all my stuff and am delaying this right now. I was meant to move it all down with my parents from my house in the midlands (flat is in London) today but got ill yesterday so am waiting until I am better. This means I can't speak to the pest company myself to find out their verdict and recommendations (is it a current infestation, who is causing it?) as I am not there. The landlord has another guy moving in on Tuesday (agent told me it would be 2 girls 2 boys to keep it fair but oh well, am worried without sounding too stereotypical that the messiness will only get worse however).

    I am concerned that if I wait for the pest control verdict I a) make it harder to leave the tenancy immediately on grounds it is not habitable on move in and b) the landlord will not relay the cause/current extent honestly making it harder for me to make the decision on whether to leave. I know this may sound very irrational and fussy but I cannot stand vermin. I would rather have spiders crawl all over me than even see a mouse. Silly I know but they are my one irrational fear (growing up I could not sleep without earphones as if I even heard one scuttle about I would cry and I even cried about my student flat problem with them despite being an "adult" haha). I was stuck in such a bad tenancy last year (mice on move in and screaming children plus threatening abusive mother through my paper thin wall in converted semi that lead me to have to take antidepressants) I cannot bear the thought of hating where I live for yet another year. I am meant to be starting an internship next week and am very flustered on my options.

    It is not a student let, it is a 12 month fixed term tenancy for my room only with no joint liability and has a 3 month break clause plus two months notice (i was told by agent this would be one month as was my condition for taking property due to its far out location to my work but landlord wanted 2 months notice). Apologies that this is so very long but wanted to make it as detailed as poss to get best advice on my options.

    TL;DR - Can I/ Should I end tenancy immediately due to mouse droppings (therefore likely infestation) on grounds it is not habitable? Am I within my rights to refuse to "professionally clean" room at end of tenancy due to the dirty state of it on move in?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    #2
    Property is habitable as Council have not declared it 'uninhabitable' yet, so contact EHO/TRO for on-site inspection.
    Doubt you have grounds to repudiate the Contract, but you do have a 'break' clause.

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      #3
      Originally posted by novembernovember View Post
      [B]*Can I/ Should I end tenancy immediately due to mouse droppings (therefore likely infestation) on grounds it is not habitable? Am I within my rights to refuse to "professionally clean" room at end of tenancy due to the dirty state of it on move in?
      The presence of mice doesn't make a property "uninhabitable".
      As you are obviously phobic, it might make it uninhabitable by you though.

      If you have the keys and have essentially taken possession (even without your belongings) your tenancy has begun and can't be ended before the end of the fixed term without the landlord's agreement or the use of the break clause.

      If the agreement contains a specific provision where you agree to do something, you have to do it or compensate the landlord for your lack of performance.
      The general principle of returning the place as you found it when you move in would only apply in the absence of such a contract term.
      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).

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        #4
        Why don't you let the pest control people do their job first. It fixed the problem in one of my properties despite my scepticism at the time.

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