Carpet moths – who pays for new carpets?

by Readers Question

10:36 AM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Carpet moths – who pays for new carpets?

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Carpet moths – who pays for new carpets?

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? Carpet moths - who pays for new carpets?

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!

Regards

Cathy



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:43 AM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Cathy

It is the tenants responsibility to "behave in a tenant like manner"

The phrase was originally coined by Judge Denning in 1953/4 in the Warren v Keen case - see >>> http://www.lawlectures.co.uk/law3/Documents-Law3/2.Implied-Covenants.pdf

Therefore, it would appear to be the tenants responsibility if it can be proven, through an inventory, that the carpets were in good order at the commencement of the tenancy. If would be down to a Small Claim Court or a Tenancy Deposit adjudication to make the decision based on the evidence. Therefore, the quality of the inventories is essential.

Vanessa Warwick

11:29 AM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Posts like these serve as a salutary reminder as to the importance of the inventory and mid-term property inspections.

Much like bed bugs, the out-going tenant can confirm that there was no infestation, meaning that the in-coming tenant inventory can show that the property is clear of infestation.

This serves to show that the new tenant brought the critters in and is therefore responsible for getting rid of them and/or dealing with any damage they do in the property.

Imfuna have a useful blog on this topic:

http://imfuna.com/blog/bed-bugs-and-inventories-are-unlikely-bed-fellows/

The tenant would be obliged to replace the damaged carpet with like for like.

Sally T

13:58 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

How long have the tenants been at the property and how long do they intend to stay? If your tenants have been there for a couple of years and plan on staying long term, I would let them replace the carets with whatever they wanted (as it could happen again), they also might prefer to choose their own colour /pattern to make it more homely. If needs be I would then replace the carpets at the and of the tenancy at my own expence as it would probably need doing anyway.
If they've only been in 6 months with a view to only been there another 6 months I would want them replacing like for like.
We find that good tenants are worth keeping and little give and take can go a long way. You also have decide what will cost more, carpets or a void period because they've decided to move out over it.

Jay James

14:24 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

sue the moths!!

sensible response to follow

Jay James

15:10 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Cathy, I take it you put in high quality carpets for your tenants?

Why?

Mark Alexander

15:24 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Re carpets, I use felt backed, bleach cleanable, polypropylene, over underlay, cappuccino in colour. It's very inexpensive, very hard wearing and looks great, I have it in my home on the stairs and landings. Pictures 5 and 10 via this link >>> http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detailMatching.html/svr/3110?prop=30868304&sale=18853880&country=england

Cathy Gunn

16:14 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "23/09/2013 - 15:10":

..because it had been our family home before we moved, and we decided to let it out - in order to return to it one day ourselves. So we let it with decent carpets that were already there. And no moths in our day !!

Jay James

16:18 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by " " at "23/09/2013 - 16:14":

wondered if that was the case.

hope it works out for your family.

Cathy Gunn

16:18 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "23/09/2013 - 13:58":

5 years and then renewed the lease with break clause etc for 2 years recently. It was our family home and so already had decent carpets that we had looked after and had never got moths. We may move back to it in 2 years time or sell it then and start over elsewhere.

Cathy Gunn

16:23 PM, 23rd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "23/09/2013 - 11:29":

Hi - the tenants had been there 5 years and then renewed the lease for 2 more; Moths seem to have struck since the renewal. Carpets were decent as it had been our family home and were in good condition at the time and definitely moth-free.. Tenants did not complain about them at the point of the extending the lease. When they first reported moths I helped them find a treatment deal and they replaced one carpet with a synthetic one. Now they have moths again they seem to want me to contribute to replacing the other carpets.... does not seem quite right to me. I'd be happy for them to put in synthetic carpets of their choice, and then replace them myself with whatever I want at the point that we take the house back and move in ourselves.

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