10:36 AM, 23rd September 2013, About 10 years ago 25
Carpet and clothes moths are ‘posh pests’ according to one pest control firm. This is because they don’t carry diseases and they love wool and cashmere but who pays for the damage when they infest and eat wool-based carpets: the landlord, or the tenant?
And what’s the story where the tenant has already been aware of the problem and had a go at defeating it – but then has not followed through with basic, ongoing prevention techniques, ending up with a recurring problem?
Have the tenants failed in their obligations to look after the property reasonably?
Are tenants obliged to clean and hoover floors regularly, which goes a long way to keep such pests at bay, or just to clean the property thoroughly before vacating?
If moth larvae get a real grip on the carpets, thanks to someone’s slack hoovering habits, does the tenant or the landlord foot the bill for replacing the carpets?
Tenancy agreements don’t always specifically mention infestations; and not all infestations are covered by the emergency and breakdown policies that Landlords can buy. Moths, for example , are not covered whereas vermin such as squirrels, generally are.
When moths tried to move in to one room in my own home (our lesson: make sure someone hoovers regularly behind dark sofas in teenage bedrooms!) we were onto it fast enough to stop the creatures from going house-wide. However, where a tenant is not so prompt, is there an industry protocol or standard on what happens when a moth-infested carpet in a rented home needs to be replaced? Also, what happens what happens if the tenant only wants to put in a cheap replacement and wants the landlord to help pay for anything more durable, even if the original was a ‘good’ carpet?
Where there is some normal ‘wear and tear’ already, it might be reasonable to invite the landlord to consider contributing to installing carpets of similar quality to a well-used original – but is there any obligation on the landlord to replace the lot at their own cost when the extent of the damage, that makes it necessary at this particular moment, is from moths who’d been able to do their thing undisturbed thanks to the tenant’s casual approach to good housekeeping?
I’d love to know what other landlords do, or have done in such situations!