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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71134
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My daughter rents a property with her 2 children aged 5years

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My daughter rents a property with her 2 children aged 5years and 7 months. At the weekend she noticed a rat problem in her house and informed the landlord who told her it was not his problem. EHO have been informed and are due to visit the property today. A rat has been caught in the living room. My daughter has had to move out of the property in the mean time as understandably she doesn't wish to remain there with her children and has told the landlord that she will not be paying next months rent as she cannot live there. Can she do that based on the fact the landlord is not prepared to do anything about the problem and he is not showing any duty of care towards his tennant . we have also received abusive calls and texts from his family.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Has she reported the abusive texts to the police please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not yet problem is the landlord is the parent of one of her so called best friends but main point first is can she terminate the agreement without paying next months rent based on unfit for human habitation and lack of concern shown by landlord

I'm really sorry if I'm missing the point but why should the landlord be responsible for infestation?

I'm sure its my fault but infestation is usually caused by the manner of occupation not the structure or disrepair of the property.

Unless, of course, they were there when she moved in but that was 7 months ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Apparently they were. The landlord put in the lease that he would replace the run down kitchen. The rats are coming through the holes in the wall behind the kitchen if the kitchen was updated as per the terms of the lease then the holes would have to have been repaired hopefully stopping the rodents. We have found out from the landlords grown up children that they had a rodent problem when they lived there.

OK. It would seem that is down to the landlord then.

Generally speaking, infestation does not render a property unfit for human habitation.

An occasional rat or mouse is not sufficient to terminate the tenancy however if the landlord refuses to eradicate the problem that can be grounds to terminate the tenancy.

It is a completely different thing of the property is overrun.

At this stage, it would be necessary to prove that the property is not fit for human habitation and in that respect, the person who could do that quickly and easily is the Environmental Health Officer.

If you contact them and they find the property inadequate then they will issue an improvement notice upon the landlord demanding that the work is done usually within a few weeks. Bearing in mind an infestation can be resolved in one day with the right people that should not be a problem at all.

However, if she just walks out then she would be liable for the rent.

She may have a disrepair claim for a reduction in rent but that doesn't mean she can escape future rent liability.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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