Household pests are an unfortunate commonality in the UK, whether you live in the most bustling of urban centres or the most idyllic rural village. Dealing with the odd housefly or spider is no big deal, but larger pest infestations are becoming more common than ever before.
Sometimes, the interventions required to remove such pests can be expensive and even destructive. These two things can often preclude renters from dealing with pests themselves, requiring them to rely on landlords and letting agents to handle the issue on their behalf. What is the story on the growing incidences of pest infestations, and what are your options as a tenant?
Pest Incidents on the Rise
Across the country, incidents of pest infestations are on the rise – a trend typified by the increase in the rat population in Newcastle. With rat infestations up by a quarter year on year, more people than ever are finding their homes invaded by unwanted animals.
The blame can be partly attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, during which pest control efforts were mitigated by successive lockdown measures. Urban pest populations exploded untrammelled, affecting more households.
To the homeowner, pests can be a somewhat costly, but relatively untroubling occurrence. For tenants in rental properties, though, things can be a little more complicated. For starters, the pests may not be the responsibility of the tenants.
To a pest, every property looks the same – but poorly-maintained properties are more likely to suffer infestations. If a landlord has failed to properly take care of a property, pest incidents are more likely to occur. The same is true for poor tenant caretaking, especially when it comes to rubbish.
Ultimately, the responsibility falls to the landlord or letting agency to control the pest on the tenant’s behalf. However, if evidence points to tenant actions inviting the pest incident, the cost of pest control may come out of their deposit.
What Can You Do to Deal with Pests?
Firstly, there is a preliminary measure you can take as a tenant to mitigate the effect any pest presence may have on your life and belongings. Taking out tenant’s content insurance will protect the value of your personal effects, in case an infestation permanently damages your belongings.
In terms of direct measures to tackle pests, there are many ‘home-brew’ solutions to pests of all different shapes and sizes. The choice is yours whether to try them for yourself – though it should be understood that any pest control efforts that damage or alter the home may contravene your rental agreement.
Ant infestations are relatively common in urban areas, especially where bins are placed by exterior walls. Pantry herbs and spices such as cinnamon and spearmint are effective repellents, equally so for spiders. For larger pests, though, refusal on the part of landlords to act on them can be a strong reason to exit a tenancy agreement early.