Pests and vermin infestations in rented homes

If mice, rats or other pests or vermin are causing problems in your rented home, find out who's responsible for sorting it out.

Landlord's duty to deal with a pests and vermin

It's usually your landlord's responsibility to deal with a pests or vermin infestation if it's caused by conditions in your rented home. 

If the problem with rats, mice or other pests or vermin was there when you first moved into a furnished home, your landlord is responsible for dealing with it.

Furnished private rented property must be fit to live in at the start of the tenancy.

If your tenancy agreement says the landlord must make sure your home is fit to live in or in a good condition, it's your landlord's responsibility to deal with the problem. 

Tenant's responsibility 

You probably have to deal with the problem if it was caused by you, for example if you didn't clear away rubbish or leftover food.

Landlord's duty to repair your home

It's your landlord's responsibility to fix holes in the wall or floor which allow rats or mice to enter your home. 

If pests and vermin cause damage to your home, it's your landlord's responsibility to repair the damage, for example:

  • fix doors, skirting boards, pipes, brickwork when rats or mice have chewed through them
  • urgently fix any damage to electrical wiring

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs to your home.

How to report the problem to your landlord

Report the problem to your landlord as soon as possible. Do this in writing.

Find out more about:

Legal action to claim compensation

Find out if you can take legal action to claim compensation from your landlord.

Rent payments if you move out

You must usually give your landlord proper notice to leave if you decide to move because of problems with pests and vermin.

If you don't give the correct notice, you will still be responsible for paying the rent. Your tenancy continues if you don't end it properly.

Homeless because of pests and vermin

Ask the council for help if it is not reasonable for you to stay because pests and vermin pose a serious health risk to you or your family.

You can make a homeless application to the council's housing department. 

The council will need to see evidence that you can't stay in your home because of the problems with pests or vermin. The council might have to find you somewhere else to live.

Don't leave your home before the council accepts you are homeless. If you do, the council could decide you made yourself intentionally homeless and wouldn't have a duty to rehouse you.

Get advice if you want to leave your home or make a homeless application.

Call Shelter's housing advice helpline or use Shelter's directory to find a face-to-face adviser in your local area.

Pests and vermin from neighbours' homes

If pests are coming from your neighbours home or gardens, you can ask them to deal with the issue. If your neighbours rent their home, you can complain to their landlord.

Complain to the council's environmental health department if your neighbours or their landlord don't fix the problem.

Environmental health can serve a notice ordering your neighbours to deal with the problem. If they don't, the council can arrange for work to be done and charge your neighbours or their landlord for it.


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