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Anjistar

Bed Bugs

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Hi,

This is my first post here, and I've had a look through some of the other missives and found some useful info, but not exactly what I need.

Does anyone know whether a tenant has the right to withdraw from a tenancy because of infestations?

This is the situation: My daughter and two friends found a flat and visited it with the landlord. Various things were wrong, which he said he'd fix and it was badly in need of a clean, having been empty for 6 months, which he also said he'd do. Nothing pest-like was seen in the short time they were there, the landlord having to run off somewhere.

He then hassled them into signing the contract three days earlier than planned, and as it took two weeks to get a viewing with the landlord, being very hard to get hold of, they didn't get a chance to see the flat again. As two of them are already camped on someone's sofa, they sign, pay up etc.

Come moving day, not one of the items on the list for repair or cleaning has been done, including some which would invalidate their contents insurance (e.g. window fastenings broken), some of which are potentially dangerous (e.g. cooker falls forward when the door is pulled), there is old food in the cupboards and the small freezer, which is on has a layer of greenish-brown ice on the base. There are mice droppings in the kitchen and downstairs bedroom and the whole place is dirty, especially the kitchen.

Two of them move in and one stays that night, only to discover during the night that the house is swarming with bed bugs - about 12 were killed that night. The next day, furniture beetle was discovered running up the sitting room walls.

My daughter reacts badly to insect bites, so is terrified of sleeping there. A man has been to destroy the bed bugs, but he was moonlighting so we have no idea whether he is competent, and live bugs were seen three days later. They are all worried about their possessions in view of these pests as well, and the pest man did recommend that they didn't move anything else in for three weeks until the treatment is done again. So they actually still can't live there, but are paying rent.

This is in London.

I think ideally they'd like to move. If it's not possible, will have to stick it out for the 6 months they've signed up to, fumigate everything they own when they leave and chalk it up to experience...

As far as I can see, it's all in the landlord's favour, and Shelter seems to agree. Does anyone know different?

Many thanks

Angie

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Hi,

(snip)

This is in London.

I think ideally they'd like to move. If it's not possible, will have to stick it out for the 6 months they've signed up to, fumigate everything they own when they leave and chalk it up to experience...

As far as I can see, it's all in the landlord's favour, and Shelter seems to agree. Does anyone know different?

Many thanks

Angie

as far as I can see from their website, Shelter seems to think it's the Landlord's responsibility. I also found this on doing a quick Google:

The following question was recently submitted to our property experts by an individual looking for advice on how to deal with their property let. If you have got a question regarding your tenancy/property, contact us now via the link to the right.

Submit your own questions

Q: I think my property has got a bug infestation - whose job/responsibility is it to handle this, mine or my landlords?

I think my property has got a bug infestation - whose job/responsibility is it to handle this, mine or my landlords?

From Johnathan Green | Toton | 30/09/2010 | Tenants A:

This depends on whether the bug infestation was in the property before you moved in or has developed as a result of you living in the property.

If the property already had a bug infestation at the beginning of your tenancy agreement, then as a general rule it will be your landlords responsibility to deal with it. However, if this bug infestation has started during your tenancy it will be your responsibility to correct it, that is unless this infestation has occurred as a result of your landlord not performing essential repairs (which has led to cockcroaches getting into the property).

http://www.propertymentor.co.uk/property-bug-problem-question.php

You might also have a look at the Landlordzone website to get the view from the other side - they have a few property lawyers who post quite regularly.

And again, Environmental Health officer at the local council.

IANAL,DYOR etc but I would get some photos pretty sharpish of the state the place is in so as to have evidence & ammunition for later problems. There's also the route (assuming the moonlighting bloke's efforts are unsuccessful) of giving the LL notice that unless he gets it sorted pronto you will get in Rentokill yourself and bill him

That said, bedbugs are the very devil to get rid of of - I gather some very posh New York hotels have practically had to tear the walls down to eradicate them....

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That said, bedbugs are the very devil to get rid of of - I gather some very posh New York hotels have practically had to tear the walls down to eradicate them....

There was a program on TV a few weeks ago that dealt with an infestation of bed bugs. From what I recall of it they sealed the house and then heated it to a temperature of around 30o C. It took a few days but dealt with the problem. In effect the bugs are dessicated.

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IANAL

As they have just moved in its the landlords problem to deal with, I'd be looking to ensure that any of thier possessions that have been moved in are also free of infestation, it's also his problem to deal with the mice, ie sealing up any holes/entry points and killing/trapping those that are already prescent. As for the cooker-is it gas, if so get gas safe in, a gas installation that is unsafe, they'll slap a notice on it and he'll then have to deal with it, just a bracket but still. If electric and he won't do anything then get the council safety officer in (as a rental there must have been a risk assessment carried out and it being unsafe would have been flagged up and put right) and they'll make him deal with it. I don't think they'll be able to get out of the contract if he puts things right in good time but if he doesn't they may be able to leave after the council/gas safe etc have been at him.

Edit-i'm not sure but think the problem with bed bugs/lice is that they go dormant and reactivate when carbon dioxide levels and warmth build-indicates the prescence of a host. So it's perfectly feasable if the place has been empty he didn'y know.

Edited by zebbedee

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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