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Vermin

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Does anyone have any clauses in their contracts that refer to vermin (mice & rats)

We have have a couple of cases where the tenants have moaned that they have mice and want the landlord/agent to deal with at their cost.

My view is if their are vermin now when there wasnt went the tenancy started it is either:

1 Lifesytle of the tenant

2 The property needs maintence such holes & cracks that need attending to.

Any thoughts or clauses anyone.

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Posted · Report post

No I don't have a 'vermin' clause. I think its a grey area.

Its up to the owner to ensure that there are no gaps in the fabric of the building otherwise there are 2 options.....in this order.

1. Local authority pest control.....you never know your luck they may do it for free......once.

2. Its gonna be a landlord responsibility UNLESS you can prove its the tenants lifestyle.....very unlikely.

Many local authorities instruct tenants to get their landlords to fix a vermin problem.

Good luck.

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Posted · Report post

No nothing in my tenancies about vermin but when I have had this sort of complaint the vermin has come from a neighbouring property. Remedy - call council on health grounds and they have sorted it as vermin coming from HB tenants dwelling.

I have thought about renting out my ginger cat, The Rufus on a daily basis as he is top notch at catching anything verminous.

Mortitia

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Posted · Report post

when i saw this title i thought of my tenants...

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Posted · Report post

:D Mortitia if you could just post Rufus to me i will have him back to you by the end of next week.

Regarding the vermin I am not sure what the legal view is.

I sort of take the same view as blocked drains. If they werent blocked when the tenant moved in, it must be something the tenant has done unless there is a fault with the pipework.

Also as it is fairly rural round here you have to expect it sometimes. I get evidence of mice once or twice a year and just put down posion but my house backs onto fields

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I have personally killed 70 plus mice in my property and surrounding area by setting traps over the past 2 years. I live semi-countryfied and it is expected.

Mice breed a litter of 4 to 6 mice every 6 weeks.....you do the maths!

We have cats all around the the neighbour's houses including a big Ginger Tom who is probably the SAS of cats and even all these cats on a 24/7 patrol can't keep the mice population down.

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Posted · Report post

My understanding any such nuisance that begins during a tenancy is a T problem, mice , wasps, .....

It's too difficult to stop mice getting in looking for a warm sleep over as it gets cold, especially if you don'y live there.

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I have a large house, quite rural, backing onto woodland, surrounded by acres of fields........never seen any vermin, mice or otherwise. I do maintain the property and there just aren't any gaps where they could get in. Oh ......and we don't have a cat and neither do my immediate neighbours. So, sounds like a poor excuse to me

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Posted · Report post

I've a T who rang very frustrated in November. He'd been listening to a mouse, I assume, inside a stud wall, scratching and rustling.

My guess the mouse came in from underfloor and in to the wall from underside to nest. I think a cat would have only got frustrated too.

Not my problem apart from a p*ssed off T who wanted to destroy my wall to kill a mouse. At some point I'll go down and inject 'Fill & Fix' into the bottom of the wall but probably best when the mouse has moved on, April maybe.

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I have a large house, quite rural, backing onto woodland, surrounded by acres of fields........never seen any vermin, mice or otherwise. I do maintain the property and there just aren't any gaps where they could get in. Oh ......and we don't have a cat and neither do my immediate neighbours. So, sounds like a poor excuse to me

They are probably too scared to come anywhere near your property.:P

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Posted · Report post

I did read somewhere and cant remember where that wasps nests are the responsibility of the tenant.

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Posted · Report post

Mice can get under gaps of 5mm (yes, really THAT small) so you don't need gaps for them to come in - they can make it under doors.

Our agent (useless as he is) says that if something infests the house after the tenancy starts, it's a tenants' problem.

My friend is currently paying 2k per month rental and has had mice in the property - she bought electric repellents...problem solved.

We have 3 cats and a dog here ....no mice problem ;-)

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Painsmith Landlord and tenant blog

During the tenancy if pests arise it will normally be up to the tenant to deal with them (after all the property has been let to them) unless there is some alternative provision in the tenancy agreement. If the cause of the pests is disrepair at the property (for example mice entering through holes in the external walls) then the landlord may also have some responsibility to resolve the issue.

Where pests are present at the start of the tenancy the issue is more complex. A landlord does not ordinarily give a warranty to a tenant that the property is pest free and habitable at the outset of the tenancy. Therefore, it is debatable whether a landlord is necessarily liable for the presence of pests in a property at the start of a tenancy. However, where a property is let furnished a warranty is given that the property is pest-free at the outset of the tenancy (although no warranty is given that it will stay that way) and where a tenant discovers that a furnished property, as a whole, is infested they may be able to declare the tenancy repudiated, move out, and sue for damages following the principles laid down in Smith v Marrable. However, in this case the landlord was clearly refusing to deal with the issue and so it must be doubted whether the same actions could be taken if the landlord was unaware of the infestation and then took all reasonable steps to deal with it on it being brought to his attention. It should also be noted that in Smith the whole property was infested with rats and so the fact that bed bugs were present in a bed would not necessarily be sufficient to allow the tenant to claim repudiation.

If the property is an HMO then the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations will apply. These create a prosecutable offence if the property is not clean at start of tenancy and it may be the case that a Court would hold that the definition of clean should include freedom from pests. However, this has not been tested to our knowledge.

Where tenants import fleas of bugs into a property then the Courts have held that this is a breach of the tenant’s implied obligation to use the property in a tenant-like manner.

In short, all landlords should do their utmost to ensure that there are no pests in a property at the outset of a tenancy. Using a professional firm may give the landlord some fallback should pests be found later. Failure to do so might involve serious consequences.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks Grampa.....nothing new there then.....still a grey are and I'm none the wiser for reading a lawyers attempt at clarification.

* Still depends on gaps in the fabric

* Still hinges on ones ability to prove a tenant is at fault

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Posted · Report post

They are probably too scared to come anywhere near your property.:P

:D

C'mon RL that is funny.

I had mice in my loft just before Christmas so it was just a simple matter of setting mousetraps and that did the trick over a few days.

Mice will always find a way to enter a property somehow. I have no idea where they enter mine as there is absolutely no obvious points of entry.

The only time I would be really concerned is if I had squirrels in the loft.....that is a nightmare of the 1st order and we do have squirrels round and about my area.

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Posted · Report post

It could be worst if you had bats. I believe they are protected so would have to put up with them.

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It could be worst if you had bats. I believe they are protected so would have to put up with them.

My Daughter has a G2 property with bats and the bats have better treatment than the old people of the UK.

Regular inspections by the bat officer (Batman :D ) and heated loft area's. Vents in the roof ridges to allow them to come and go freely.

Even had to get special permission to install loft insulation just in case the bats were disturbed.....OK....that's reasonable but it took 4 months to get a decison!

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I had to deal with a property with squirrels in the roof a couple of months ago. A couple of tiles were missing from house roof- that's how they got in but they were attracted to the Rockwool type loft insulation which was strewn all over the garden and being used to build their own nests in nearby trees! Squirrels must be even tougher than I thought.

Mortitia

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Posted · Report post

Letting agency AST has this clause under 'tenant's obligations':

The tenant agrees to... Pay and arrange for the removal of all vermin, pests and insects, if infestation begins during the Term, woodworm and woodboring insects excepted, unless such infestation occurs as a failure of the Landlord to fulfil his repairing obligations.'

So I guess if there's a hole in the wall that the Landlord has neglected to fill and mice start getting into the house as a result, then it's the Landlord's responsibility to resolve, otherwise, it's the tenant's responsibility. Point taken about mice getting in under doors though. They really can squeeze in through the smallest gaps.

And lettingexpert.com AST says the following:

'Pay and arrange for the removal of all vermin, pests and insects, if infestation begins during the term. Woodworm and wood-boring insects are excepted, unless such infestations occur as a failure of the Landlord to fulfil his obligations.'

Which I assume is intending to say the same thing but with misleading punctuation?

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Posted · Report post

I've never heard of mice entering a property under an external door. Most uPVC doors don't have gaps, neither do aluminium. Wooden doors may BUT shouldn't you be more concerned about draft proofing and eliminatng gaps/ drafts. In any event, I doubt you will ever be able to proove the mice entered under the door.

I have heard of Xmas decorations being stored in a garage and brought in for use at Xmas......the mouse was in the box and brought in.

I'd suggest where mice are concerned its a gap in the fabric of the property.....easily fixed or brought in by tenants unaware of the circumstances.

Landlords responsibility every time.

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Posted · Report post

Well most AST's have a no animal clause.

So on eviction they should take the animals with them tongue.gif

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Posted · Report post

Bought a plug in electric vermin repellant device from B and Q for £15, emits sound at an annoying frequency for rodents but is inaudible to humans. Sorted.

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Posted · Report post

The electric emitters may work to a degree, but are not the final answer I have these plugged in my garage. Went to get a new pair of rubberised pond gloves off the shelf right next to the emitter, lovely little nest had been made in them. £15 quids worth of glove gone in the bin along with the emitter.

Dave

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Posted · Report post

So what was the problem with the emmiter ?

1. Flat emitter battery ?

2. Usefull life of emitter had expired ?

3. Poor quality emitter ?

4. Intelligent rodents who had disabled the device ?

5. You hadn't switched it on ?

6. Fuse blown ?

7. etc etc ?

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Posted · Report post

None of the above, possibly the mice were deaf?

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