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To not move into this house?

(75 Posts)
SupSlick Sun 26-Jul-15 08:21:38

So I'm early-twenties, full-time working, single mum with a 2 year old & have been back at my parents for a few months to save up a deposit to rent somewhere.

Finally found a lovely house near an outstanding rated school with a little garden for DS to play in. When we looked around the previous tenants still lived there so I didn't open any cupboards or anything.

On Friday afternoon I signed a 12-month contract with the estate agents & got the keys. Yesterday morning I went round with my parents to clean it & measure up.

As soon as we walked in we saw a rat, an actual rat just sat in the kitchen looking at us not even bothered by our presence. Then we noticed the rat droppings all over the kitchen floor, and holes at the back of nearly every kitchen cupboard where they've got into the wall cavities.

We also found mouse traps in every cupboard/wardrobe all over the house, & rat poison bloody everywhere.

Went back to the estate agents, gave them the keys back & said I wasn't moving my son into a vermin infestation & either they knew about it or they haven't checked the property (inventory) properly.

They've basically said I'm in a 12-month contract & I have to pay.

I'm absolutely devastated. I know it's easily fixed but we spoke to the neighbours who said its been a problem for years & they're moving because of it.

Feel like they've seen me coming. Aibu to not move in & demand the contract is voided.

afreshstartplease Sun 26-Jul-15 08:23:42

I wouldn't pay them a penny unless they sort this out

MyPelvicFloorTrainsItself Sun 26-Jul-15 08:24:36

Oh that sounds awful. I would not move there either. I would go back to the agent and see what they are going to do about the infestation and also cancel the contract.

Birdsgottafly Sun 26-Jul-15 08:25:04

Get environmental health in, they can put a timescale order on your LL and if it isn't got got habitation, then your LL had broken the contract.

Given the age of your son, the LL may be acting illegally.

sooperdooper Sun 26-Jul-15 08:25:53

Ugh disgusting, surely the house has to be in a habitable state or the contract is invalid - do you have a copy of the contract?

SophiesDog Sun 26-Jul-15 08:27:04

Yanbu, but unfortunately I don't know how you can enforce this. There has to be a way - you could check the terms of your tenancy a greement because I'm fairly sure it will say the house has to be fit for human habitation. And it's not. And you need somewhere safe to live, which a house full of rodenticide is not, especially for a child.

Citizens advice or shelter PLUS the council have a person who deals with serious rental issues - you could mention you're getting them involved plus any organisation the letting agent is a member of.

Good starting point anyway. I don't think they would have a leg to stand on ifthis went to court.

Meanwhile look for another property, I wouldn't rent a different one from these agents though you might want to try that route if you don't want a huge battle. My guess is they will back off once they know you mean business. They cannot get away with this - take photos, lots of them, now, before they are onto it.

SophiesDog Sun 26-Jul-15 08:28:13

Btw don't pay another penny to them. You need to get your deposit back too but for now, just stop any further payments to them completely.

FuckitFay Sun 26-Jul-15 08:29:05

Did you take pictures? I would call environmental health too. What have you paid so far? The property does have to be habitable not a health risk! I would put everything in writing to the agent immediately and explain fully what you saw and why you believe the property is uninhabitable. Send it by email as well as post so you have a record

SupSlick Sun 26-Jul-15 08:30:43

Contract doesn't say much regarding vermin or liveable conditions. Ironically there's a whole page on no pets (seen as they provide the rats for free hmm)
The estate agents have got some guy from a private company to go in and assess, but don't know when this is happening & have a feeling they'll say it's sorted but obviously there's rat poison everywhere & im not going to let my son be in a house where he could easily pick it up & eat it.
This is such a mess sad & I was so excited about moving.
Landlord lives abroad so no help there. They can't even get through to her.

Neighbours said it's worse when the rats eat the poison because then they have the smell of dead rats coming from the walls.

Birdsgottafly Sun 26-Jul-15 08:32:54

The house does have to be fit for habitation, but without EH, you will get caught up in arguments, whether it is or not.

EH has a department that deals with the standard a Rented property should be.

SupSlick Sun 26-Jul-15 08:33:02

Already paid deposit (600), one months rent (600) and fees (200). But have already arranged TV licence, home insurance & internet on Friday when I got the keys.

EA said I'm tied in to the contract & basically I'll be paying 600 a month to live at my parents whilst a bunch of rats party in my house.
We took photographs of everything so I think I will do a letter, good thinking

sooperdooper Sun 26-Jul-15 08:34:34

Do you still have access to the property to take photos?

I'd speak to the environmental health and CAB on Monday morning for advice, it can't be legal to rent a property in that state

Boooboop Sun 26-Jul-15 08:35:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sooperdooper Sun 26-Jul-15 08:35:49

Sorry, crossed posts about photos, it's good you've got evidence

Birdsgottafly Sun 26-Jul-15 08:36:40

OP, Google "Infestation of rats" and your local EH department, the LL can claim that the infestation wasn't present before you moved in.

So don't move in before you've contacted the relevant departments.

You don't have to live in the house with this not sorted out.

sooperdooper Sun 26-Jul-15 08:38:13

This page from Shelter gives advice about habitable standards and lists rats etc.

RandomMess Sun 26-Jul-15 08:40:05

Get the council involved. Speak to all the neighbours and get the council to sort out all the properties in one go so they can't move elsewhere.

Also it sounds like the wrong poison is being used - they should be given one that makes them feel hot so they seek outside and die there rather than in the walls.

Also the council will look for the source of the food that attracted them to move in there in the first place.

Is it terraced housing?

Coconutty Sun 26-Jul-15 08:44:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SupSlick Sun 26-Jul-15 08:44:50

Yes it's an end-terrace. Just read online that if its furnished property & the infestation was already there it's the LL problem. But this property is unfurnished,
Even if they come back & say it's all sorted I really don't want to move in but I don't know if that's possible until I get through to various agencies tomorrow

Soundofsettling Sun 26-Jul-15 08:45:06

Contact environmental health, keep a record of every phone call and contact with the estate agent - absolute fuckers!! Do not let them get away with this!!

If you make little head way get the local councillor on board. If the infestation is that bad it becomes a public health issue , most areas public health is merged with the local council so you can contact the director of public health.

Make the issue the estate agents failure to maintain the property in the landlords absence, environmental health can only treat the current infestation NOT rodent proof (fill in the holes).

Anon4Now2015 Sun 26-Jul-15 08:48:38

Get a written statement from the neighbours (and a contact number) now before they move and you lose contact with them.

RachelRagged Sun 26-Jul-15 08:53:11

Aww OP that is just nasty .

Everyone else has said what I think so flowers for you ,

SophiesDog Sun 26-Jul-15 08:54:12

Cancel your internet and gas/electricity immediately. Act like you're not moving in. Hopefully you won't have to.
Contact the bank and cancel any direct debit or standing order that has been set up to the agents.

Contact the council first thing tomorrow and say it is urgent.
Basically take the scatter gun approach but no, do not give in, and do not move in.

SophiesDog Sun 26-Jul-15 08:55:27

There are also the local papers if that might help your case. As a threat, not necessarily a first option.

Don't mess about, be VERY clear with the agents that you are not going to be paying for this property and they will have to take you to court to make you.

JamNan Sun 26-Jul-15 08:58:13

From Shelter website
Landlord's duty if there's a risk to health
If there was a problem with pests or vermin when you moved in, your landlord is responsible for dealing with it. It's a legal requirement that a furnished private rented property must be fit to live in at the start of your tenancy.

It's also your landlord's responsibility to deal with the problem if your tenancy agreement says the landlord must make sure your home is fit to live in or in a good condition. Not all tenancy agreements say this.

more here

From my own experience I would say don't rent the house if you are phobic about rats. They make a lot of noise especially at night. Once they take the poison bait and die the bodies start decomposing and smell (despite what the pest control people tell you). Go to Environmental Health they are very good and will force the Landlord to sort it (although LL might not know). Also local newspaper so the shit agent gets some PR coverage.

Another idea - could you delay moving in for a month while LL/agents sort the problem (with the help of Environmental Health checking up on them).

So angry for you.

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