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As per my post on mice problem I am now after some different advice.
In Jan tenant(Single professional working on an 12mth AST with 6mths break clause) reported a mice in the flat. I attended to the flat and took action on sealing the holes I could see at the time.
I then left it and no issues of mice were reported. I have visited the flat few times since then even then, no issues with mice so I thought it will be ok now.
In the mean time In Feb he started demanding 2nd pair of keys to give it to his friend in case of an emergency. I refused on ground of security no one but tenant on AST can get keys. At this stage he was very angry but didn't or couldn't do anything about it.
Then on 1st Apr suddenly he exercised his 2 months notice as it is over the six moths now. Saying he is going to live with his friend now. Then on the evening of 4th of Apr he suddenly said I noticed a mice. This time the tenant expressed his intention to leave early as he can't live with mice. As he only emailed me I didn't get to see the email as my inbox was full and I was not looking at my emails for a good week. Over the weekend I had to delete many emails some 1gb of them to get some more space.
I was going to act on it on Mon after the weekend as I didn't see this as an emergency. On Mon 8th morning he reported another mice was seen onSat 6th Apr. I booked a council Pest controller, which I was going to book anyway. He attended on 9th Apr. He did his professional due dilligence and noticed some extra holes I missed out in Jan.
So I asked the tenant if I can go back and get this resolved as well. Because some of them are in awkward places and some professional work is required I was going to call a professional handyman to assist me. This has made the tenant more angry. He suggested I should have done this earlier ie called in the professionals in Jan rather than deal with it myself. He now demands an immediate vacating date rather than wait for the two months notice. Other wise he is going to the Council and or seek legal advice.
My Q is Where do I stand in this scenario. Should I ask the current tenant to stay until I find another one or let him go. If he leaves on his own accord will I be able to dispute rent owed from the deposit. I am with DPS and they have been good in resolving other issues but nothing like this.
PS Need advice on how to smooth talk the tenant as he was ok in the start as I always dealt with issues within in days or week. New Wardrobe, radiator valve issue etc. He was happy to the point that in Nov he even gave me some pastries that his friend brought from abroad. I don't know if he is acting on someones advice to seek compensation and just wants to leave so that he can save money.
I hope I have covered everything to understand the scenario.
If tenant has rodents in their property they have every right to expect rapid and committed action to eradicate the problem. As a rat catcher was not engaged at outset landlord has brought the problem home to roost. Why should tenant not leave without penalty in these circumstances?
The normal notice for a standard AST is one month.If I were you, I would let him go. Its clear he doesn't want to live there and if you force him to try and stay - or pay - the relationship will only deteriorate. I presume he has paid rent up to the end of the month? Agree for him to leave and start advertising the property for rent as soon as you are sure the mouse problem is resolved.Tenant's deposit should be returned in full unless there are any deductions for rent ARREARS (not what you think he should pay to leave early) or damage or excessive wear and tear to the property.Landlords often get the tenants they deserve. Be an ethical landlord and you will attract ethical tenants. Its the law of the Universe. It's also important to weigh up the time, energy, and "hassle" factor of getting into a fight with a tenant. You need to put a price on that. Is it really worth it? Take it on the chin, learn from it, and move on is my advice.
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
Hi Vanessa, Thanks for the tips.
The notice was to be for two months after the initial first 6mths. But you are right the situation could escalate specially I made a mistake of not getting in the PC in the first instance and I have learnt from that.
You are right we all should be ethical LL. And I have done the accreditations and been to many seminars and also get advice from PT's. There who are those who do not want to follow the right way will not get advice from the likes of PT's.
And if I let him go early I hope it will mend the relationship of what ever he thinks I have broken even though it was not intentional.
I will consider by today and discuss with him tomorrow. The only thing is he now only want email communication and I want to talk to him and mend the damage.
Vanessa's advice is, of course, spot on, but perhaps there is a lesson here for landlords generally about communication and dealing with problems. If you choose to self manage then it is not really good enough not to be available and not to check emails frequently (although I do struggle with tenants who use email to report urgent problems). I have always maintained that being a landlord is a business and therefore needs to be run on a commercial footing; if your agent failed to respond for a week you wouldn't be very happy with them. You do have to be reasonably available to tenants who after your customers after all.
It seems that your tenant was destined to leave anyway and just wanted an excuse, so cutting your losses may save you future hassle, but by not dealing with repairs appropriately you have given them a pass out (perhaps not legally).
It is unfortunate if your tenant only wishes to communicate by email; that makes me smell a rat (no pun intended here) about their intentions. As you say, a good phone call may resolve matters. At least you will have a written record of what has gone on. Tenants don't legally have the right to specify how you contact them, but you will have little option if you wish to communicate.
I agree tenant can use their trick to catch out when they want and LL's need to be on top of it in case.
As you said legaly he might not have much, as I used a council PC who gave a lot of good tips and as he was thorough. The PC did say I didn't do anything wrong but most people will miss the holes he found. One was just under the sink unit but the only reason I didn't not open the panel underneath was because I relied on the tenant when he went in under sink and looked down the big cut hole that the pipes were coming out of and he confirmed there were no holes and also took pics to see in daylight. So all I did was sealed the holes in the unit not the floor. Then the PC looked under the oven hob where there was a gap between the wall and the floor board. These two are the main ones I need to seal. Then the laminate did not cover the holes for the radiator pipes coming out of the floors. Another tip the PC gave was to seal these holes with the hard as nail glue. You don't need the expensive one like Unibond, the Wilko's own brand will be sufficient. once hardened the mice will not be able to nibble it through, plus cover it with wire wool mesh, which will double up as the mice will die of eating the mesh or give up all together.
I wanted to the above work today but the tenant has now denied access. Should he do that and can I use this as a counter argument that I did want to get access to block the holes now but the tenant has denied access.
Tbh I also give tenants a spare set of keys. Just like what I would expect myself.
Hi Adribadri The reason I refused the spare key was because the last tenant gave one to her BF or some sort of Partner in crime literally(Later in life just before eviction he was arrested for DV) So I have become a bit curious of being asked for a spare key. I haven't got the infrastructure and/or energy to chase anyone who is living in without being on the AST, it is a H&S issue.
This point is quite interesting.
Is it actually the landlords responsibility to deal with the mice issue?
Frequently rodents are attracted by food or rubbish being left out rather than disposed of.
What about other infestations such as a wasps nest or ants etc?
Surely if the issue wasn't present when the tenant moved in it has been caused by the actions of the tenant?
Regardless of whether there are some holes that need blocking up a mouse will find its way in if it tries hard enough.
I am interested in peoples views on this.
Indeed some sort of attraction has to be there for the mice to find its way, it can be food or warmth so if you have empty space and no food exposed but lots of warmth mice will still find its way as long as there is a hole anywhere in the area. So I did block the visible holes or obvious ones. It took them time but the mice found another route and viola we have mice in here.
The pest controller suggested to close all the holes to stop being the LL's responsibility.
Any way I did have another post for that issue this was about the tenant wanted to leave because there was mice sighting for the 2nd time.