Vermin in rented accommodation

If you are renting a house, your landlord is legally obliged to make sure that your home is maintained to a level that is safe and habitable for you to live in.

If rats, mice or any other vermin are causing problems in your rented home, and the issue has been caused by the condition of the house or was there when you first moved in, the law requires that your landlord ensures measures are taken to deal with the problem and any required repairs are made to your home.

Examples of vermin issues that are legally your landlord’s responsibility include:

  • If holes or gaps in the property structure are not properly sealed and vermin can enter the home
  • If damp causes the walls to be infested with silverfish.

However, as the tenant you also have an obligation to keep the house clean and habitable – so if the problem was caused by you or someone in your household, for example, if you didn’t remove rubbish or leftover food in a timely manner and your home is overrun by cockroaches, you will be expected to deal with the issue yourself.

If you have reported any issues regarding mice, rats or vermin infestation, and your landlord has failed to take the appropriate action, council housing solicitors may be able to claim against them on your behalf – for both compensation and for the repairs in question.

How living with vermin can affect your health

Living in a home that also houses vermin can be damaging to both yours, and your family’s, health and wellbeing. Mice and rats, for example, can not only significantly add to the risk of spreading disease by contaminating food and food preparation surfaces, but they may also chew through electrical cables within walls and ceiling spaces, which can lead to a multitude of issues, including fires or electric shocks.

Is your landlord not dealing with vermin in your home?

If the pest control issues you are having are caused by the conditions of the property, or have been there since you moved in, your landlord is responsible to deal with the problem. This will include:

  • Fixing any holes to the structure of the building which may be allowing rats or mice to enter
  • Repair any damage that has been caused by the pests or vermin, such as; damage to electrical wiring, and holes in pipes, walls or brickwork rats or mice may have chewed through.

At CEL Solicitors, our expert solicitors believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and disease-free property, so we take landlord’s obligations very seriously.

Though you may be nervous about claiming against your landlord, it is important that you understand that you don’t have to suffer unnecessarily. To find out your rights as a tenant if your landlord is not fixing any problems or issues with vermin and pest control, contact our friendly team of solicitors today on 0808 281 2660 or 0203 893 2499; or email info@celsolicitors.co.uk.

Common questions about vermin in rented properties

Is my landlord responsible for pest control of rats or mice?

When it comes to the responsibilities involved when there are rats or mice in a rented property, both the landlord and tenant are involved. When a tenancy begins, the landlord should ensure that there are no vermin present in the house when the new tenant(s) move in. The landlord, whether it’s your local council, a housing association or a private rental agreement, will also need to ensure that there are no structural defaults in the property that are enabling rats or mice to enter the home.

The tenant’s responsibilities when it comes to rats or mice are to ensure that they are not encouraging vermin by leaving foodstuffs accessible or failing to keep their home clean. If the behaviour of tenants is determined to have caused the vermin problem, it will fall to the tenant to take remedial action themselves, or involve their own local service professionals.

Who is responsible for bed bugs – landlord or tenant?

Bed bugs are not generally dangerous in themselves, but some people can experience reactions to bed bug bites and many people find the very idea that they are sharing their sleep space with bugs a very distressing one. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t dirt or unwashed bedding that causes bedbugs, they are instead attracted by the human scent.

A landlord is responsible for the removal and treatment of bed bugs if the infestation was already in the home when the tenant moved in. This could be the case even if the bed is new or the tenant’s own, as bed bugs can also live in other types of furniture, carpet and even behind mirrors.

The tenant may be responsible for sorting out the issue of bedbugs if they brought the bugs or eggs with them from their previous address.

Bed bugs can be difficult to eradicate and they multiply at a very fast rate, so it’s important for tenants to report any issues with bedbugs as soon as possible to their landlord or housing association. It will often take treatment by the professionals before a property can be declared free from bed bugs again.

Should my landlord pay for pest control?

The cost of dealing with a pest infestation in a home, whether it’s mice, rats, silverfish, bed bugs or something else, can be substantial in some circumstances, especially if several phases of treatment are required. Whether the landlord or the tenant is liable for these costs will depend on when and how the infestation occurred.

If the vermin were already present in the house when the tenancy began, the landlord will need to take responsibility for any costs, which may include rehousing the tenants whilst treatment is taking place, in some cases.

If the tenant is at fault for the infestation, they may be required to cover the full cost of any remedial treatment to the home and their belongings e.g. furniture. If rats or mice have caused further damage, such as chewing wires, the tenant may also be liable for the cost of repair if their behaviour caused the infestation in the first place.

If you’re a tenant experiencing vermin in your home that isn’t your fault and your landlord doesn’t seem to be taking the problem seriously or arranging for pest control to treat the property, despite being fully aware of the issue, you may be eligible to make a claim. Contact CEL Solicitors today to discuss your situation and a potential compensation claim.