What to do About Vermin in Your Rental Property
Cockroaches, rats, bedbugs, fleas – none of these may good flat mates. But from time to time, they can appear.
The Homes (Fit for Human Habitation) Act 2018 stresses that landlords must make their tenancies safe and healthy to live in. And that means getting rid of any vermin that happens to turn up.
How Do You Know if You Have a Rodent Problem?
Droppings are an instant sign. These are dark pellets which tend to be found where there is food ie a cupboard. Holes in skirting boards and around pipework is another indicator of rodents, since chewing through these is how they entered the property in the first place.
Finding half chewed food around is also a sign, as is weird noises (ie scratching). After a while, if the mouse or rat colony is allowed to multiply (and they do this quickly!) then you may notice a musty smell around the place.
And finally, if you keep getting electrical problems then you can bet a mouse or two has gnawed their way through some cables
Getting Rid of Rodents
To prevent them arriving in the first place always make sure your tenants dispose of food in the waste bin provided. Ask them to keep opened food tightly secured ie biscuit packets in a tin, cereal in a plastic holder etc.
Make sure your tenants don’t leave rubbish about in the garden, especially in black plastic bags which mice and rats can easily chew through to get at discarded food.
Patch any holes where pipes pass through with mortar and mastic. That way it should block the rodents’ entry hole.
If you have landlord’s insurance then it’s always worth checking to see if it covers rodents. If so, you may be able to hire a pest control company to sort it, for free.
You can always trap mice and rats using traps of course. Peanut butter tends to be more of a temptation that cheese.
It’s possible to buy plug-ins that emit a high and shrill noise which scares the rodents away.
How to Tell if You Have a Roach Infestation?
Another unpleasant – and unhealthy – visitor, cockroaches aren’t as big a problem in the UK as they are in hotter climates. These tend to be nocturnal so your tenants’ chances of seeing one during the day are virtually nil.
They tend to hang around in kitchen cupboards and behind fridges. You might also find them in a warm airing cupboard. Their droppings are small black granules.
Getting Rid of Cockroaches
Again, prevention is best here. So, insist tenants keep kitchens clean and ensure food is correctly put in the bin. Like with rodents, don’t leave food in opened packets but lock it away in sealed containers. Empty bins regularly too.
Make sure there is no blocked drains at or near your property since cockroaches love raw sewage.
The only way to really get rid of a cockroach infestation is to call in a pest control company.
The big indictor of bedbugs is, of course, scratching. This is unpleasant enough, but it can lead to another infection.
Sometimes bites will appear on the skin and you can find brown and black stains on bed linen. Bedbugs are tiny but sometimes they can be spotted at night, using a torch.
Getting Rid of Bedbugs
Get tenants to wash all bedding and linens on a hot wash and tumble dry. Vacuum affected areas and empty into a sealed bag. Place the bag in a bin outside.
Get a new mattress. Again, it’s a good idea to get experts in to deal with it as bedbugs can prove particularly stubborn creatures to get rid of.
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