If you’re letting out property for habitation, then you have a responsibly to keep it in liveable condition. This means dealing with wear and tear, conducting repairs where necessary, and dealing with infestations of pests. These are all linked, in a sense, because a landlord is responsible for any repairs required to stop pests from entering the building in the first place (along with any infestation that makes the building unsafe). If you’re a tenant looking to limit your risk, then you might do so by taking out tenant’s liability insurance.
Repairs to External Walls
Any holes in external walls can represent a point of entry for rodents. This might mean air bricks, vents and other cracks formed between doors and walls. These don’t have to be large holes: the average mouse will be able to squeeze through a hole the size of a pound coin.
Bringing in Pest Control
Depending on the sort of pests that have infested the home, you’ll need to bring in a reputable pest control company. The cost will vary according to the kinds of animals being disposed of, but you can expect to pay hundreds of pounds for the service.
Dealing with the Problem Yourself
If you’d prefer to save money, you can deal with the problem internally. Should you choose to go down this road, you’ll need to abide by a series of regulations. You won’t, for example, be able to shoot pests with a crossbow, or blow them up with an explosive. If you’re using poison, then you should follow the packet instructions, and only use it to deal with the pest in question.
As you might imagine, you’re wandering into dangerous territory if you get things wrong. You might even be breaking the law if you catch a certain animal and subsequently release it (like a grey squirrel).
What does the tenant have to do?
A lack of cleanliness can attract pests. This means food waste should be disposed of promptly, and clutter should not be allowed to pile up. You can set this responsibility out in your initial tenancy agreement.
Do I have to rehouse the tenant?
While repairs are being carried out, landlords are not obliged to rehouse their tenants – though they should keep the tenant apprised of how long the work is expected to take, and when it will occur. In some cases there might be no way to continue living in the home while repairs or pest control is ongoing – in this case, you might need to go through the courts to compel your tenant to vacate the property.
What about neighbouring properties?
In some cases, pests might spread from one home to another. If there are obvious signs of an infestation in a neighbouring property, then you might face more of a struggle to get the problem addressed. If the homeowner is unresponsive, then you might need to involve your local Environmental Health Authority. This is a measure of last resort, however, as Environmental Health will only tend to involve themselves when there is a risk to health.