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str2010

Rats In Rented House

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I have been an avid reader of this site for years but this is my first post as I am desperately in need of advice.Sorry for the long post!

I have str (house getting signed on Wednesday) and am currently (since April) renting a house as I totally believe houses are way overpriced and as we have a toddler needed more room so we moved out and started to rent (12 month contract) whilst our house was on the market.

For the past few weeks we have heard noises in the loft, cavities and under the floorboards which we assumed were rats as the rented house backs onto open fields by docks and a water treatment plant. Environmental Health confirmed last Wednesday that it is rats and we need to find out where they are coming in from, he also placed traps and poision in the loft. There is decking immediately outside the patio doors from the living room and he assumed they have got in from under there but he couldnt remove it to confirm and asked me to get the landlord to remove them and he would come back and have a look.

So I have told the landlord (he lives in another part of the country) and he started asking questions about food being left out rubbish etc etc and I told him this wasnt the case. It wasn't until I actually left in the middle of the night (Fri) as they started moving around under the bedroom floor that he actually got somebody round to lift the decking to look for holes. I just feel that he is not being very responsive to what is actually happening to us - we are not sleeping due to the constant gnawing and moving around all night and it is finally taking its toll. I contacted him on the Saturday and told him they are moving under the floors now and only at this point did he get someone round to move the decking which uncovered an air vent which has been chewed through. This vent was then removed and the hole bricked up.

Last night the rats were basically going mental being heard in other parts of the house that we hadn't heard them move and the next door neighbours even came round (as the rats are also getting into their property) asking us to remove the brick which we did (after checking with the landlord!). I had a converstation with the landlord last night and he was saying he will come back for a day next week and spend a day at the house to try and get the rats out.

I just don't think this is good enough, I am having to go and spend the nights at my parents house with my little girl as she has now heard them and is petrified and I just don't know what to do. There are no other properties near us for rent and I don't think we should be paying the amount of money we are paying to stay in a rat infestied house. I have also asked for the decking to be removed as I don't think they would be coming back and forth as they are if they weren't under cover and he doesn't want to remove it as it is a big job and there is nothing under the decking!!!!

Any advice would be really appreciated.

Edited by str2010

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I have been an avid reader of this site for years but this is my first post as I am desperately in need of advice.Sorry for the long post!

I have str (house getting signed on Wednesday) and am currently (since April) renting a house as I totally believe houses are way overpriced and as we have a toddler needed more room so we moved out and started to rent (12 month contract) whilst our house was on the market. For the past few weeks we have heard noises in the loft, cavities and under the floorboards which we assumed were rats as the rented house backs onto open fields by docks and a water treatment plant. Environmental Health confirmed last Wednesday that it is rats and we need to find out where they are coming in from, he also placed traps and poision in the loft. There is decking immediately outside the patio doors from the living room and he assumed they have got in from under there but he couldnt remove it to confirm and asked me to get the landlord to remove them and he would come back and have a look. So I have told the landlord (he lives in another part of the country) and he started asking questions about food being left out rubbish etc etc and I told him this wasnt the case. It wasn't until I actually left in the middle of the night (Fri) as they started moving around under the bedroom floor that he actually got somebody round to lift the decking to look for holes. I just feel that he is not being very responsive to what is actually happening to us - we are not sleeping due to the constant gnawing and moving around all night and it is finally taking its toll. I contacted him on the Saturday and told him they are moving under the floors now and only at this point did he get someone round to move the decking which uncovered an air vent which has been chewed through. This vent was then removed and the hole bricked up. Last night the rats were basically going mental being heard in other parts of the house that we hadn't heard them move and the next door neighbours even came round (as the rats are also getting into their property) asking us to remove the brick which we did (after checking with the landlord!). I had a converstation with the landlord last night and he was saying he will come back for a day next week and spend a day at the house to try and get the rats out. I just don't think this is good enough, I am having to go and spend the nights at my parents house with my little girl as she has now heard them and is petrified and I just don't know what to do. There are no other properties near us for rent and I don't think we should be paying the amount of money we are paying to stay in a rat infestied house. I have also asked for the decking to be removed as I don't think they would be coming back and forth as they are if they weren't under cover and he doesn't want to remove it as it is a big job and there is nothing under the decking!!!!

Any advice would be really appreciated.

Look up the meaning of paragraph <_<

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I have been an avid reader of this site for years but this is my first post as I am desperately in need of advice.Sorry for the long post!

Any advice would be really appreciated.

I would expect a tenant to behave in a tenant like manner. That would involve taking the necessary steps to remove pests and vermin. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure. So as a LL I would pay for replacing or reinstating any damaged area that allowed pests and vermin to enter into the structure, that's all.

A pest control visit in my area, whether rats, mice or wasps costs about £45. I would expect a tenant to pay for it.

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I would expect a tenant to behave in a tenant like manner. That would involve taking the necessary steps to remove pests and vermin. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure. So as a LL I would pay for replacing or reinstating any damaged area that allowed pests and vermin to enter into the structure, that's all.

A pest control visit in my area, whether rats, mice or wasps costs about £45. I would expect a tenant to pay for it.

Pests get in due to a poor building with routes for pests to enter, in this respect if this is not maintained properly then the property is unfit for human habitation - I would stop paying you rent and see you in court. It is the landlord's house, so the landlord's responsibility. Unles the tennant does something daft like knocking bricks out or something to invite this trouble.

My landlord paid to deal with a rat in my house, pest controller was asked to provide full report, the report was used as a guide to block up various holes. Problem sorted. I was really impressed.

Edited by Si1

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For the sake of your toddler I'd move asap. Rat poisons are neurotoxic especially for developing bodies like toddlers, also rats often carry diseases and mites which can affect your health and even more so that of your child.

The biggest advantage of renting is the ease of moving, so take advantage of it, don't compromise the health of your family for the possibility of losing the rent deposit (which is by no means sure, since you have a good case against your landlord too).

---

Edited by wise_eagle

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Sorry, fixed now.

I'm not normally so curt in my responses but that monoparagraph was giving me a migraine.

Now to answer your question. I am a qualified EHO but haven't worked in LG for a few years and it was another millenium last time I got involved in domestic rat issues. Anyway I shall tell what I know.

For starters and to dispell a common misunderstanding the Local Authority have no legal obligation to treat. They have a duty to inspect and take action against landowners and occupiers where appropropriate.

The two main pieces of Legislation are;

The Prevention of Damage by Pest Act 1949 - Section 4

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Section 80

In your scenario legal responsibility from the Local Authority perspective will depend on the circumstances and is largely dictated by who could be reasonably expected to do what. For example if your garden and house is in such a state that it provides harbourage and food for rats then this aspect would be your responsibility. In contrast as a tenant structural issues which allow the rats access are the responsibility of the landlord. Likewise it is fair to argue that if the premises was let in such a state to encourage rats this too would be his responsibility.

In terms of what you can be done immediately.

Ensure all food waste / potential food is removed & placed in hard lidded bins

Cut back vegetation especially that which is adjacent to the property

Eliminate any source of water available to the rats - they need to drink every day and if water isnt available soon move on. This includes dripping u bends.

Look for signs of access - broken air bricks, holes in mortar, gaps under doors etc. Rats can get through holes the diameter of a mans thumb - they have moveable skull plates.

Fill any holes - easiest method is to pack with wire wool and then fill with expanding spray foam. Don't spray foam on its own - it is useless.

Leave lights on in occupied areas you think the rats might be going into - this tends to put them off.

Be fastidious about household hygiene - a small piece of cake to a rat is a feast.

Once all access is blocked you need to hit the infestation hard. Baited traps and sticky boards if you can get them. Traps should be baited with peanut butter - the best of all baits.

If the LL still won't do anything see if you can get the local EHO (if he / she still exists) to serve a Section 80 EPA 1990 notice on the LL to carry out repairs as the premises is prejudical to health. If this gets served you will have all the evidence you need if pursuing the LL for damages for breach of contract.

Keep us posted and good luck

Edited by Kurt Barlow

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I wouldn't,not if i expected the tenant to stay.

pay the £45 and send him the invoice if he's prevaricating

My opinion fits exactly with the legal position as outlined by Kurt Barlow.

If the pests are getting in because of a fault with the structure of the building then it's the Landlords responsibility.

If it's due to negligence or poor hygiene by the tenant then its down to the tenant.

If it's due to negligence or poor hygiene by the tenant and they won't take the necessary steps to stop the problem or pay the £45 to eliminate the nuisance their negligence has caused then I'd be more than happy for them to go.

Edited by sleepwello'nights

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The council here deals with rats for free.

If there's holes they'll need blocking up so the landlord will need to know and do some remedial repairs maybe.

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As sleepwello'nights has alluded to, pests and vermin in rented property are the tenants responsibility.

Only had an issue with them a couple of times (once a mouse, once a wasps' nest) and in both cases the landlord (separate places years apart) was happy enough to deal with them, which seems unlikely if it's caused by anything other than the tenant's negligence.

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... which seems unlikely if it's caused by anything other than the tenant's negligence.

Just goes to prove how amenable, cooperative and reasonable most landlords are. Of course he had no legal responsibility to remedy the nuisance. It would be the tenant's responsibility to deal with them, unless there was a problem with the structure of the building.

In the case of wasps they can enter from tiny cavities that exist in all structures. So I don't really see how a tenant could win an argument that it was because of poor maintenance by the landlord. Pretty much the same applies with mice. They can gain entry from very small openings.

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Just goes to prove how amenable, cooperative and reasonable most landlords are. Of course he had no legal responsibility to remedy the nuisance. It would be the tenant's responsibility to deal with them, unless there was a problem with the structure of the building.

In the case of wasps they can enter from tiny cavities that exist in all structures. So I don't really see how a tenant could win an argument that it was because of poor maintenance by the landlord. Pretty much the same applies with mice. They can gain entry from very small openings.

But it contributes towards the house being habitable - same principle IMO as anything that comes with the house breaking. Don't see any fundamental difference between a slate falling off and wasps getting in.

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  • 258 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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