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Aibu to want to move out ASAP (rats). And if not, how can I do it?

(35 Posts)
Mumblefireplace Fri 16-Jan-15 12:04:45

We moved in to a rented house in September. It is a Victorian terrace, with lots of books and crannies and draft holes.

A few months ago, I think in November, we realised that something had been in the kitchen trying to get in our bin, which we reported to the landlord. But it stopped after a few days. We later saw a rat outside. Then, a few weeks ago, we discovered that it had got into a food cupboard and eaten flour, porridge etc. the ll has employed a pest control man who has laid poison.

However, since then rat droppings have appeared in all rooms in the house except our bedroom (but have found outside in landing and in spare room, which baby is due to move in to soon). And on kitchen counters. My husband had to chase a rat out of the living room one afternoon too.

Now I am freaking out and want to leave. We have a 7 month old baby who likes to roll around on the floor and put everything in her mouth and I'm worried about her coming into contact with nasty rat germs. I am cleaning like mad, vacuuming 4 times a day and searching for droppings constantly. I'm waking up in the night, convinced there are rats in the bedroom and too scared to sleep.

So, should we wait it out, hoping the poison works, or should we leave ASAP so as not to put the baby in danger?

And would this be a reason to end tenancy early? Could I report to environmental health as unfit to live in? We have paid 6 months' rent in advance, so how could I get the remaining rent and deposit back? We have a 6 month break clause but that would mean staying for 2 more months.

What should I do, please help as I am becoming more hysterical by the minute!

soverylucky Fri 16-Jan-15 12:07:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WooWooOwl Fri 16-Jan-15 12:11:27

You need to contact the ll again. If the last time a pest control person was out was a few weeks ago, then whatever they have done hasn't worked and they need to do more.

yolofish Fri 16-Jan-15 12:13:33

You need the pest man back, he should come once a week til they've all gone. We are dealing with rats (but outside, in our chicken run) at the moment, and the advice is to put the poison down every 7-10 days.
I do sympathise though, and if I found one in the house I would be hysterical!

19lottie82 Fri 16-Jan-15 12:13:52

I'm afraid you can't end your tenancy early just because there are rats UNLESS environmental health deem the property as inhabitable, but I can't see that happening because of a rodent infestation.

Your LL sounds like he is addressing the problem by bringing in pest control. Did the pest control guy tell you how long it might take to get rid of the rats? If it doesn't seem to be working then you need to get back in touch with them and/or your LL to tell them so.

I know rats aren't nice, and I certainly wouldn't like to share my home with them, but you do sound slightly hysterical. You need to calm down and take practical steps to sort this problem out.

You can try negotiating an early surrender with your LL but he is under no legal obligation to release you from your tenancy.

plecofjustice Fri 16-Jan-15 12:18:16

Contact your landlord and council. Most councils will deal with rats (but not mice) for free.

My experience is that you would not be able to end the contract early without any penalty in your contract being enforced unless an eradication programme was carried out and was unsuccessful. One visit from a pest controller is not sufficient, it is usually an 8 week programme of visits with bait monitoring, etc.

Also, the fact they got into your food could be evidence that you are not carrying out your responsibilities as a tenant - you have a responsibility to rodent-proof all food sources, everything into plastic boxes, tupperware, tubs, etc.

inthenickoftime Fri 16-Jan-15 12:18:46

I had a similar problem but luckily it was at the end of my tenancy. As long as the landlord is making the effort to get rid of the rats then you cannot end a tenancy early. That's what i was told by the council pest control department anyway.

Parietal Fri 16-Jan-15 12:27:31

get lots of wire wool. stuff it in all the holes you can see to reduce the number of places the rats can get in / out. keep food in plastic tubs.

Nanny0gg Fri 16-Jan-15 12:32:49

I'm not being facetious, but while you're waiting for pest control, can you borrow a cat? (or a terrier?)

We had a rat's nest in the garden and our cat got the lot.

UKSky Fri 16-Jan-15 12:37:19

Unfortunately, many councils no longer provide pest control for free, unless you are in receipt of benefits.

The pest control company should have come back within 7-10 days after laying the poison. Do you know where the poison is and can you see if any has been eaten? If it's not eaten then it's not in the right place.

As others have said - keep food in plastic containers. If possible, move food to another cupboard, and if it is safe to do, put poison or a trap in the cupboard.

You need to find where they are coming into the house, and block up the hole - this can quite often be damaged ventilation bricks, someway from where you can hear them. We had some in our house and they actually chewed through the concrete floor, but poison got rid of them.

We get a small infestation every winter. The buggers climb up the inside of the walls and into the loft. Take about a week to get rid of them. We don't even use a pest control company anymore, just get poison from our local country store.

Are they definitely rats? If the poison is nibbled it is mice, if it is actually eaten it is rats.

Can you borrow a cat for a few days? Also, there are some plug in deterrents, but I don't know if they are effective?

So, yes, call your landlord and get him onto the pest control company again.

Another thing that helps is keeping any rubbish away from the house and in a dustbin, so there is nothing for them to eat nearby. Also, one of the worst causes for rats is, unfortunately, bird feeders. So if you feed the birds, might be worth removing any feeders for a while. Do you have an outside shed, as they like to live under there too.

When the pest control person comes back again, get him to talk to you about the best ways of preventing this happening again.

Mumblefireplace Fri 16-Jan-15 12:37:45

Thanks for your replies. I suspected that it wouldn't be a reason to end the tenancy early without incurring a penalty.

All food is now fully rodent proof in jars etc

The pest control has put down 2 lots of poison and is coming back today, but it just seems like it's getting worse!

I have bought a plug in thing for the bedroom as I'm terrified of them coming in there while we are sleeping.

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 16-Jan-15 12:40:34

Jesus, I would be be hysterical an all! It's my worst nightmare especially with a baby.
Ok, in the short term call pest control back, you need them ASAP. Tell the landlord the rats are still there and you have done this. Make a massive fuss, explain your concerns about the baby and tell ll that you want to move out if rats are not gone by X date.
You are not obliged to live in a house infested by vermin .
I can't actually believe a pp sneered and said you were overreacting! A rat bite on a baby is fucking serious as are the diseases rat urine and faeces cause.

notinagreatplace Fri 16-Jan-15 12:42:47

Even though it's not a reason to break the tenancy, I don't think YABU about your feelings. I felt like this about mice, if I had rats, I would totally move out until pest control had done their thing. Do you have friends/family you can live with temporarily? Pest control may be able to do more drastic things if the baby isn't there for a couple of weeks.

Mumblefireplace Fri 16-Jan-15 12:44:20

The pest control man has just been back and put down more bait - it had all been eaten previously. He pointed out some possible access points and the LL is going to send someone to fill the holes.

I also realised my rice-filled dead excluder had become a food source!

Would love to get a cat. I'm currently looking into cat fostering schemes.

Mumblefireplace Fri 16-Jan-15 12:44:56

*draft excluder

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 16-Jan-15 12:45:36

Anyway, it's only 2 months until you legally can utilise the break clause, so if they are not gone in one month, you can give your one month's notice and move out.

Nanny0gg Fri 16-Jan-15 14:22:09

If you do get a cat, you can't have poison...

fridgepants Fri 16-Jan-15 14:55:19

Having rented for a while, I think it's sadly likely that the landlord might blame you for the rats. I've had one swear blind that there were no mice in the house in which I was living - despite the large evidence to the contrary, and the box of poison on top of the fridge that was hidden when I came to look round and mysteriously appeared when I moved in, oh, and the actual mouse I saw.

The landlord could claim that there were no rats in the 'property' previously, therefore there's no proof that you aren't attracting them. I'm hoping they're reasonable and wouldn't pull this card if you tried to leave, but it happens.

MadamG Fri 16-Jan-15 14:57:36

I have three cats. And a rat infestation. The bloody cats brought them in. Now the rats are nesting in walls and ceilings and in places the cats can't go. And I can't put poison down now. Every so often a rat comes out and gets eaten by a cat but there are always more eats than cats. I have to leave food cupboard doors open so the cats can patrol them for visitors popping up from gaps at the back/bottom of the cupboards. The bloody Rats also eat food I leave for cats whilst he cats sleep. I use the plug in things with limited success. Stick with the poison, and research the different types. It's horrible. Big sympathies. I get hysterical over the rats. I can completely understand your horror.
Bleach ever surface you can day and night with hot water and bleach. Hoover all your carpets as you are. Remove rubbish. As you do keep food in sealed pots. Make sure there is no water (rats need to drink lots). Keep going with poison. Make lots of noise (they don't like people much) fill in any holes you can. Good luck

Lucyandpoppy Fri 16-Jan-15 15:22:38

I had a very similar problem but not rats.

Like you, we paid 6 months rent upfront. On living there we encountered so many problems - damp, mould, gas leaks, water leaks, broken windows and plumbing. We were so stressed about it (or at least I was lol).

I spoke to our estate agent who spoke to the LL and the only thing they would agree to re: ending the tenancy early was that we had to pay the fees (around £700) for the estate agents to re-let the property and within a couple of weeks they found someone to take the house and we got back our remaining advance rent less the rent from the time we had already been there, moving out fees, and estate agent fees. So all in all we paid out £4,500 and got about £2,500 back. I think a big consideration would be if you can afford to pay 6 months upfront for another house if your landlord would let you do an agreement like that? We ended up having to move in with family and are now saving to move back out again. So yeah deffo think about if you did move out and not get all of the rent you paid in back would you be able to afford somewhere else?

You could also contact the council EHO and see what they could do. xx

Jewels234 Fri 16-Jan-15 16:26:20

I had one rat in my house last year for a single day and I went mental. Totally understand you feeling that way. Anyone who says YABU is ridiculous. Or very very brave.

Sounds like it's not a reason for you to end your tenancy. Can you pay for a private company to come in and do a better job? If I was you I would be planning my escape asap.

seaoflove Fri 16-Jan-15 16:32:19

I would leave ASAP.

In my (sadly extensive) experience, most pest control companies won't solve the problem. Laying poison repeatedly is easy money - anyone can do that. What they should be doing is identifying access points, suggesting how to block them, and laying traps along likely routes the rats might take.

Rats also tend to come via drains more than any other route (they need a source of water so won't be living in your house constantly, they will be coming and going).

They are also a massive health hazard and you don't need that when pregnant or with a little baby.

notinagreatplace Fri 16-Jan-15 17:07:24

Agree with seaoflove - if you're in London, though, OP, I can recommend a really good firm that did a proper full inspection of the house and got rid of our mice problem. Touch wood, we are now the only house in our terrace not to have a problem because of the way that they blocked up all the holes

MamaLazarou Fri 16-Jan-15 18:33:45

OP, if you're anywhere near South London, you'd be welcome to borrow my cat for a week - he is an awesome hunter.

Mumblefireplace Fri 16-Jan-15 19:43:25

Thank you so much for the advice and support smile you are lovely. And so sorry to hear of others with rodent infestations. And thanks so much for the kind offers of cats to borrow. I may take you up on this if the problem isn't sorted out by LL smile

Since my posts this morning, I came face to face with a rat in the kitchen! Luckily my neighbour heard me scream and came round to help me get it out.

That was the tipping point for me so i packed some things and came to my mums for the weekend, with dh and dd too.

We've emailed the LL telling him we don't feel comfortable staying there and don't want to come back until they are gone.

Worst case scenario, I would rather stay with family for 2 months and lose the rent money than live in constant fear and paranoia. Luckily my mum and ILs both live in nearby towns. Best case scenario, the LL will sort out the problem and we can go back. Otherwise I will be contacting CAB, council, environmental health etc to see if they can help me put pressure on LL to return some of the money.

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