Moles! Landlords or Tenants responsibility?

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I’m having one of those weeks, this time it’s moles in a tenants garden! Who would be a landlord? LOL

This is the email I received last night from one of my tenants about his Moles, the furry creature kind, not a growth on his person of course!

Moles Landlords or Tenants responsibility“I’m having trouble with something creating tunnels in the garden (both the front and rear) and damaging the grass. I think it’s Moles, I remember these holes were existed in the garden at the beginning of our tenancy. My adjacent neighbor advised me to remove it as it might affect on the underground gas pipes. So I want you please to help to get rid of whatever is harming the garden. Please give me a call before coming to make sure I am at home.”

My brother has called the tenant and apparently he’s “tried everything”. I’m worried about what damage the moles will do to the garden too, this is one of my nicer properties, a 4 bed detached house. Terrible yield but great prospects for capital growth, it’s doubled in value since I purchased it 10 years ago.

I might have to put the rent up if he’s got an extra tenant living there! And whose going to pay the referencing fees? LOL

Seriously though, I will pay to sort this problem as it’s my understanding that pest control is a landlords responsibility. I have Googled the subject and there are a few blogs and discussions on tenant forums. I can’t find anything formal to say whether it’s a landlords or a tenants responsibility to pay for the removal of Moles though. Nevertheless, this chap is a good tenant (no not the Mole silly!) and I do want nice gardens so I will pay for the hit man (I mean pest control) to remove him (the Mole that is, NOT the tenant). If anybody can quote legislation on this I would be very interested, not that it would affect my decision, just out of interest really.

 

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Comments

  • Julie Ford - Hemel Landlord & Property Network says: Please view our official business sponsor profile

    HI Mark, legislation is very grey on the subject of pests, the LL has an obligation to enure the property is safe and habitable and this does cover the outside space. I tend to learn towards the following: if a tenant has been in a property less then 3 months then pest are LLs responsability, however, if it can be proved that the tnt is doing something to encourage the pest, then it should be tnts responsability.


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  • not grey at all…why dont people say they dont know rather than say this. it does not fall under s.11 L&T Act 1985 nor EPA.


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  • Mark
    Clear tenant responsibility no matter how long they have been there unless moles occupied before tenants.
    This is an incident oif occupying a property on whatever status – owner, tenant, squatter etc.
    Warren v Keene 1954 and Lord Denning’s famous definition of acting in a tenant like manner covers this.
    Tough on the tenants but will be even tougher on the moles!!


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  • Now this interesting. Is it possible that both Joe Bloggs and industry Observer can both be right and if so which wins? Is it Landlord and Tenant act 1985 or case law based on “Warren v Keene 1954 and Lord Denning’s famous definition of acting in a tenant like manner”?

    Either way, I’ve found a mole removal specialist and I’m really pleased with the deal. £50 and he guarantees to remove the mole, no matter how many visits it takes. I also got a really interesting lecture on moles. Apparently the are solitary creatures and males only meet females once a year to breed. The female then evicts her young as soon as they can survive without her. I’ve also learned that an average mole builds 200 metres of tunnels. Therefore, no matter how many holes you get in your garden, the likelihood is there is still only one mole.

    I shared this article on a LinkedIn group called “The Property Management Network” and a chap from Southern California left this thought provoking comment.

    “Trapping or poisoning won’t help long term, because if it’s a nice place for a mole (or a gopher as we have here in SoCal) then another will move right in when the varmit is removed or killed. Nature always wins in the long run.
    I’m trying a Camphor Oil pellet application that is apparently so annoying to burrowers that they flee, and is non-toxic to humans and pets.

    Putting an exterminator on a mole contract is an added cost that will live-on annually, as long as the tenant has the attractive nuisance of fat and tasty plants.

    I think that attaching legal responsibility for a free-ranging rodent outside of a managed property is a dubious exercise, but we all share a duty to make life unpleasant for pests or else they make life unpleasant for us.”

    Buy the repellent (about $10 for enough to cover many hundred sq ft), and give it to the tenant to apply.


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  • Domainwizard says:

    Mole traps. Any good hardware store. Easy to fit and humane. nice.
    And its
    “who’s going to pay the referencining fees? LOL” LOL


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  • Just a practical note – I get moles in my own garden and simply buy loads of little windmills (the sort you get at the seaside) and place them all around. Apparently the noise puts them off – (I am not so popular with my neighbour as they subsequently prefer her garden:)


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  • You know what Gilly, I remember my Mum telling me that about 30 years ago. She said it keep the awake so they leave. I laughed at her at the time but it worked. Thanks for reminding me of that memory as I’d forgotten it until you mentioned it.


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  • hi mark
    it cannot possibly be a landlord liability under the L&TA 1985 (unless the moles have conceivably damaged underground services which i suspect is unlikely, but landlords are responsibility for these). therefore, moles which dont damage underground services are either neither parties responsibility or the tenants eg under the dictum in warren v keen.


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  • Under Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 a local authority can serve
    notice on both the land owner and the occupier if there are rats or mice. Moles
    are not rodents but this legislation might provide guidance about responsibility
    - it appears to be shared by owner and occupier if the pests are present while
    there is a tenant in place.

    In my opinion if the moles were present when the tenant moved in it
    would be the landlord’s responsibility just as it would in the case of rodents.

    See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/12-13-14/55/section/4

    Under Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 a local authority can serve
    notice on both the land owner and the occupier if there are rats or mice. Moles
    are not rodents but this legislation might provide guidance about responsibility
    - it appears to be shared by owner and occupier if the pests are present while
    there is a tenant in place.

    In my opinion if the moles were present when the tenant moved in it
    would be the landlord’s responsibility just as it would in the case of rodents.

    See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/12-13-14/55/section/4


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  • Ray says:

    hmm. Interesting question… I’m not entirely sure who’s responsibility it is, but I found some great tips for dealing with the problem at
    http://www.molecontrolhq.com. Hope that helps you to fix the problem quickly!


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