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  • Buy-to-Let

    Rats - from neighbours drain

    The rats are coming from my neighbour's side through the drains. I've been collaborative and nice but she is v slow and reluctant to spend even 50% of the cost. What do I do? I've called Lewisham County Council who will take up the case (weirdly, under their crime enforcement regulation unit)  but legally if I'm left with a void can I make any claims against her?

    The neighbour has under pressure has her drain inspected but is slow and doesn't know if Thames Water have done the necessary work (non-return valve etc).

    I've spent hundreds of pounds over 2 years and have proofed, baited and have drains checked 3 times by different companies including Thames Water to be as sure as possible I have done everything I can.

    My poor tenants! Yes they have a cat and food gets left out but I can't tell them to get rid of it! Sadly their cat doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent (the rats are probably bigger than her).

    Any advice to get this sorted once and for all before I lose my very reliable tenants? HELP!

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    You should be pursuing this through Lewisham. They will pursue it through their crime team as it is a complaint under the Environmental Protection Act which proceeds in the Magistrates Court.

    You may be able to make a claim for a void caused by a nuisance from rats, yes. However, delays at your end in dealing with it, including with Lewisham will seriously undermine that claim.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    thank you David. It is now with Lewisham - I didn't want to alienate my neighbour but give her a chance to resolve this together as a united front first. I understand how it might be viewed. Hopefully LCC will be able to help get this resolved. I'm a leaseholder with L&Q technically owning the freehold so they are also in the mix (they own the flat above which is social housing) but they have been next to useless in pretty much all matters other than collecting their money every month

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    Hi Eliza, sorry to hear of this issue - rats are the worst! In regards to this drain, where are they actually coming out from? We have found that there is nearly always an exposed drain that leads to the manhole. This is usually from a former toilet that was not capped off correctly - especially with Victorian/Edwardian buildings.  If this is the case, a builder can look under the floorboards and hopefully find this source to block up.

    As an example, one of the properties had an exposed drain hole under the living room floorboards. Where do the rats come out from and into the property?

    Good luck with the buggers!

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    that's a good tip PTUK, I did reconfigure the flat and so did next door so it's possible this had been overlooked somewhere.

    Need to find a builder willing to scrabble underneath the boards...We're pretty sure they are coming through the drains but after that not sure, maybe through floorboard under the stairs. They have repeatedly chewed through the mesh / foam in the kitchen which is on a party wall to next door.

    Seems the priority is to stop them coming through next door's drain first, they claim they have nothing coming into their house

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    Interesting that your neighbour has not had any issues. From my previous experiences, (and given the limited knowledge of your property) i would say get a builder to spend a couple of hours locating how they are getting into your flat. It would be shame to find out that it is in fact not a fault of the neighbours drains. As per my previous example, there was confusion on whether it was our house or the neighbours as the source - in the end, we found it was ours.

    If you find where they are getting in to your property, this may be something you can nip in the bud without needing to deal with the neighbour at all. And at the very least, it would give you more information to go back to your neighbour on coming up with a solution. Those are my two cents considering limited knowledge of the property/full details. Good luck!

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    Call Warrick Chamberlain at Greenstone Pest Control in Brentford - he covers all of London and he knows what he is doing - he does mouse and rat proofing - better than any builder or exterminator can - and he gives a 12 month guarantee, 07973695873 - he sorted out my tenants mouse problems - after other companies just left baits and kept charging me for return visits. Once Warrick "proofed" the flats, we never saw another mouse.

    good luck

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    I'll be making a note of his details, thanks for sharing. As you say, most pest companies just charge to put down bait and wait, it simply does not resolve the cause of the issue from reoccuring. Proofing up the property is key.

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