Is my Landlord Responsible for Pest Control in my Social Housing Home?
Although it’s somewhat of a common issue, no one should have to share their home with vermin and no tenant should be made to feel responsible for an infestation that evidently wasn’t their fault.
It’s important that you establish early on in your tenancy (if not beforehand) whether the responsibility for pest control falls to you or your landlord.
Usually, there will be certain situations in which your landlord is responsible for sourcing and paying for pest control, and some situations in which it is your duty.
Our housing disrepair solicitors can help you claim for repairs and compensation if you are living in a home with significant structural disrepair leading to pest infestations.
How does Disrepair lead to a Vermin Infestation?
Many different forms of housing disrepair can lead to infestations of all kinds of pests and vermin.
For example dampness and humidity can help create an ideal dwelling for cockroaches and silverfish, whereas ants will be attracted to traces of sugar and grease.
Structural defects such as broken roof tiles, cracked walls, doors and faulty windows would also significantly contribute to an infestation, as this makes your home easily accessible for insects.
Particularly in the winter months pests will be seeking warmth and shelter, which makes it all the more probable that they will find entrance to your home through such small defects.
For the most part, these issues need to be fixed by your landlord, so pest control needed as a result would be their responsibility.
On the other hand, excessive food waste and rubbish bags that haven’t been properly disposed of would attract rodents, as would constant littering in or around your property. In this situation, the vermin infestation would be your responsibility and you would be expected to handle it yourself.
If you are wondering about your housing association’s pest control policy you should get in touch with the association first. Any issues that arise should first be reported to them, so they have the opportunity to make the necessary repairs to stop the vermin infestation.
Checking the Housing Association Pest Control Policy
The first thing you should do upon finding vermin in your home is check your tenancy agreement.
The responsibilities of your social landlord or their representative should be set out in your agreement and should address who is responsible for vermin. However, through our experience we have found that many agreements fail to mention whether the tenant or landlord is responsible for pest control.
Is My Landlord Responsible for Pest Control?
Your social landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure of your property, including the guttering, drains, walls and pipework.
Infestations caused by this kind of housing disrepair would be your landlord’s fault. A good example of this kind of disrepair would be cracks in floorboards that allow small rodents and other vermin to enter your home.
Another example might be an infestation of silverfish as a result of a damp problem in your property. Dampness is a form of disrepair that your landlord is responsible for repairing if caused by structural damage, ultimately making the landlord responsible for the silverfish infestation and any other pest control that is necessary.
Health, Safety and Vermin in Social Housing
Pests and vermin pose a serious risk to your health, possessions and the condition of your home.
Rodents and cockroaches are notorious for carrying diseases and can even transmit toxic germs through their faeces, urine or shed skin.
This can significantly aggravate existing health conditions you or your family members may have, such as asthma or eczema. Additionally, cockroaches are infamous for causing food poisoning and skin conditions such as dermatitis.
The risks of fires and electrocution are also more prevalent if you have a rodent infestation, as mice and rats are known to chew through wires. They may cause noticeable damage to your electrical wiring, furniture and other belongings.
Having a pest or vermin problem in your home is not only uncomfortable, but is also unsanitary. When the problem has arisen due to your landlord failing to fix disrepair, they are responsible for seeking professional pest control services to resolve the issue.
Infestations Caused by your Landlord’s Negligence
Any form of structural disrepair that wasn’t your fault that has led to your home becoming infested needs to be addressed by your landlord. If this is the case, it is the responsibility of your landlord to pay for pest control, repair the damages leading to the infestation and get your home back to a reasonable standard.
If your property was furnished when you first moved in and appeared to have a pest control issue from the beginning of your tenancy, your landlord will immediately be held liable for the issue. This also applies to wasp nests which were present from the start of your tenancy.
Do you believe your landlord is responsible for a pest or vermin infestation in your home after failing to provide you with much needed repairs? We are here for you.
When your Landlord Refuses to Carry Out Repairs
We strongly advise you to inform your landlord of any disrepair issues in writing so that you can keep a copy for future reference, in case they fail to respond or fix the issue.
Being able to prove you clearly communicated the problem can be helpful if they take too long to act on the disrepair or carry out repairs to a poor standard, leading to the problem worsening.
Make sure you take photographs of the housing disrepair when you first report it to your landlord. Store these as evidence with copies of the communication between you and your landlord.
Additionally, you should always keep medical records if your health has been affected by any form of disrepair issue, such as mould, damp or pest control problems. If possible, store receipts for any belongings that were damaged as a result of the infestation, and bank statements proving your financial losses.
Ultimately, if you landlord refuses to carry out essential repairs to control the pest problem in your home, you can make a claim for them to be carried out. This should always be a last resort when things become unbearable, but you should be aware that you can take legal action if you are suffering significantly as a result of your landlord’s neglectful attitude.
When You Can Make a Claim for Repairs and Compensation
Depending on the extent of the disrepair, infestation in your home and the effects on your health and belongings, you may be able to make a claim for repairs and compensation.
With this you can not only claim for repair work to be carried out, but also to be compensated for any financial, emotional and physical suffering you have been subject to as a result of the disrepair and pest control issues your landlord refused to remedy.
We could assist you with your compensation claim and help you with getting your home and life back in order. Call us today on 0844 414 0667 or request a call-back from one of our experts.
Please note that we can only assist you if you are living in social housing.
We will be by your side throughout your housing disrepair claim.
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