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Pest control

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1020 views 2 replies latest reply: 05 March 2015

I have been in this house for almost two years and for the third time rats have got into the house via the cupboard under the kitchen sink. On the previous two occasions I have paid for the council’s recommended pestcontrol service who have laid poisons but not given any advice as to where exactly the rats have got in. The letting agent sent a handyman round to block any holes in the wall the first time but obviously they are still getting in somehow.There is also an area under the kitchen counter which has no kickboard, just a peice of card over it which the rats could get through and into the rest of the house (there is no door on the kitchen).

This weekend I saw evidence of rats under the sink again – they had shredded some rolls of kitchen paper towels I had left there. On Monday morning, I contacted the letting agent and informed them I am not prepared to keep paying for pest control services when the rats can still get into the house and asked to arrange for a professional pest controller to deal with it, including having holes etc blocked.

Since then the letting agent has been trying to contact my landlord to get his authorisation to go ahead with the work but he is not returning her calls.

I am wondering at what point it is reasonable for me to say I am going to get the work done & deduct it from my rent which is due at the end of the month?

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If this was only reported on Monday and the agents are trying to contact the landlord then they are doing what they can to resolve the issue.  You would not be justified witholding rent at thsi time and doing the work yourself.


Pest issues are sometimes tricky to deal with as many contracts will have a provision that tenants are responsible for keeping the property free of pests and vermin BUT, if the property is clean and tidy and you are not doing anything that could attract rats, then you should be able to easily argue that it is not you’re responsibility.


Check if your neighbours are having similar issues with the rats.




Hi Liz

Do you have any way of finding out whether the rats were an issue before you moved in too? That would make it squarely the landlord’s problem. If the rats are getting in as a result of structural disrepair that would also make this the landlord’s cost to pay. There might also be something in the tenancy about it – take a look at this advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau which might be of some help. Rats might also be considered a hazard that the environmental health dept of your local authority could take action against the landlord for (if it’s definitely their fault) – more info on that here. Sometimes even the threat of that is enough to motivate a landlord who values their rental income.

It’s worth noting that you should never withold rent, no matter what the circumstances, without the agreement of the landlord – or the agent on their behalf. If you don’t pay the full rent agreed in the contract you’ll be in breach of your tenancy which gives the landlord all sorts of remedies you don’t want them to have.


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