Here is a question to the blog clinic from Cheryl who is a tenant
Hi we have just moved into a property and have heard running and loud scratching in the attic and walls, the attic is sealed up so we don’t know what it is, but it sounds large.
I have 3 children and am worried we may have rats, we have signed a six months tenancy agreement but I would rather leave now, where do i stand ?
Hope you can help.
From what you say, and from the experience of having a rat in the house ourselves, it sounds to me as if you have a rat infestation.
If you have just moved in, your property is rented furnished and you have not paid any rent since you moved in, there is a common law rule which says that you can reject the tenancy and move out.
- You would need to be able to prove that the property IS actually infested (otherwise your landlord would be entitled to claim rent from you for the next six months)
- You can ONLY do this right at the start of the tenancy. If you have confirmed it by paying rent, the remedy will not be available to you, and
- It may make life difficult obtaining a new tenancy if your landlord will be unwilling to give you a reference because you have moved out early
First of all, you need to find out what the problem is. The best way to do this is to speak to the environmental health dept of your local authority. They will send someone round to investigate.
When we had a rat the problem was easily solved by using the service of our local authority. A man came round, left out rat poison in suitable places, and the rat died. That was over two years ago and we have not had a rat in the house since.
If it is just the one rat, then I think the problem could probably be solved just as easily. This would be better than having all the upheaval of a move to another property and the expense that would incur.
You also don’t say you have spoken to your landlord about the problem – you should do this and give him an opportunity to deal with it. If you have just moved in then it will be his responsibility.
You will find some further informaiton here.