Rats in Rented Property
Rats in properties are common in almost every urban or sub-urban environment. It is very unpleasant to discover that you are not the only tenant in your newly rented property when you find out you have rats, mice or other vermin as fellow tenants.
All is not lost however and as soon as possible the tenant must to tell the landlord or their agent about this problem, as if you have just moved in it will be the landlords responsibility. This is because the common law rule says that a tenant can reject the tenancy and move out if a tenant has just moved into rented furnished property.
Take note, that if the property is furnished, the landlord has a common law obligation to ensure that the property is fit for habitation when the tenant first moves in. It will not be if it is infested with rats or vermin, and the tenant will be entitled to move out. So long as you move out promptly.
As the tenant you must reject the tenancy immediately at the start of the tenancy and you must not have paid any rent since moved in. This is because the tenancy will be confirmed by paying rent and this remedy will not be available to you.
The tenant must prove that the property is infected. The best way to do this is to go to Local Authority Environmental Health Department and they will arrange an investigation but you must notify the landlord and agent also as any delay will diminish your tenants rights.
If the infestation is found and reported after the tenant has been living for a while in the property, the tenant will have legal responsibility.
The reason of infestation can be holes in the external walls, garbage, waste food and other rubbish in the garden or a number of things. However, if you can prove you didn’t cause the circumstances leading to the problem then the landlord will have to carry out repairs and deal with any infestation.
It’s a fact that vermin infestation can be classed as a statutory nuisance as it may be prejudicial to health.
If it can be shown that the infestation or incursion is caused by the act, default or sufferance of the landlord or agent, tenants may be able to bring a prosecution under section 82 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990.