This week our landlord advice team helped one of our members who had a call from a tenant advising them that there were mice at the property.
Our member needed advice on the best way to deal with the situation.
We advised that as the first step it is best for the landlord to arrange for pest control to attend the property and resolve the issue, and if possible request from the pest controller a report or statement as to how they believe the issue to have arisen. After such action has been taken the next steps may vary.
In situations where the pests have arisen due to a defect in the exterior of the property, for example a hole in the wall letting in mice or a hole in the roof allowing for a nest of insects or similar, then this is the landlord’s responsibility, and they should pay for the pests to be dealt with and to fix the defect which allowed them in.
If the reason for the pests is very clearly down to the tenant and was stated as such by the pest controller, then a landlord would be within their rights to charge the tenant for the cost of removal. Some landlords will allow for one instance of the pests being removed on their own cost but warn the tenant to take steps to prevent this happening again or else it would be at their cost. This would also be a good way to deal with a situation where it cannot be determined clearly how exactly the pests got in.
A similar approach can be taken in instances of repair issues. For instance, if a tenant reported that their shower or bath has stopped working, the landlord should advise the tenant they will have a contractor attend to look at the issue and if possible fix it there and then. The landlord would pay at first instance and determine what has caused the issue. If it was just a break at nobody’s fault, or the fault cannot be determined, then the landlord should cover the cost to repair the property.
If it was the tenant’s own fault then make sure the tenant is clear on how to correctly use the shower and if it is their own mis-use which causes any further damage, they would face the costs of repair. If a tenant was already aware and shown how to use the facility, then you could charge them on their first time that damage was caused, but some landlords as a matter of best practice and tenant management will give tenants a ‘one off’ at their own discretion.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Team manager, said “It is important that landlords are aware of how they can resolve issues like this, so that both the landlord and their tenants know their obligations in respect of keeping the property in a good state of repair. This allows for a good and fair relationship between landlord and tenant.”
- Do you have a question about repairs, or perhaps another issue relating to lettings? If you’re a member of the RLA, give our advice team a call on 03330 142 998 or access online advice here. Not a member of the RLA? For unlimited one to one advice, join the RLA today.
- You can also learn more about property standards in our e Learning course here
- For an in-depth look at how to deal with different types of pests, read this article first published in Residential Property Investor magazine here.