Carpet moths – who pays for new carpets?

by Readers Question

10:36 AM, 23rd September 2013
About 7 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


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Comments

Nick Faulkner

18:49 PM, 24th September 2013
About 7 years ago

I am slightly amused that anyone would think me a" landlord basher"....I have been a professional landlord for about forty years and as Mark says I met him about 25 years ago....and enjoyed working with him when he ran the Money Centre...a mutually advantageous period.
During that time I have had over a thousand tenants . I rarely fall out with them and protect their deposits with the DPS who we find to be pretty efficient.
The very nature of our business means there is a lot of wear and tear but that is costed in so unless there is obvious deliberate damage we deal with it in the changeover period and do not fret about it. Life is too short to look for hassles and getting steamed up about a room that needs redecorating costs a lot in stress but a few pounds in cash.
Look at it positively ... you do not have to pay tax on the re-dec and the room will let more easily because of it.

Jay James

18:55 PM, 24th September 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "24/09/2013 - 18:25":

In which case, please could you remove my comment.

Sorry Nick.

Mark Alexander

19:43 PM, 24th September 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "24/09/2013 - 18:55":

Sorry Jay Jay, too late now, it would mess up the thread.

Cathy Gunn

0:58 AM, 26th September 2013
About 7 years ago

So...checked out the house today and was puzzled about the tenants' moth worries as (interestingly) it's not nearly as bad as they claimed. I was expecting moth-inflicted carnage in every carpeted room, from their dismal account of how grim it all was....but only one carpet shows some, fairly slight, signs of moth damage and the rest are fine - and indeed, are not wool carpets anyway. Bar a bit of normal wear and tear, tsome could also clearly do with a good clean.
I saw just two moths in the entire house, (now dead moths), and gave some advice about basic, ongoing, moth prevention management to keep the critters at bay. Can't vouch for what may be in the wardrobes, but looking after their own clothes is definitely up to tenants to take responsibility for.
So now the lead tenant accepts that there is no question of me re-carpeting the whole house for them. Bit of a climb down....
Instead, they seem willing now to replace at their cost (with a reasonable synthetic) the one bedroom carpet that does seem to have been a bit 'mothed'; and to call in someone at their cost, to clean the others carpets thoroughly anyway.
If they want to get some one to spray against moths generally, they will deal with that too.
As the hall and stair carpeting is undeniably getting on a bit, at about 7 or 8 years old now, with wear from heavier traffic than bedrooms get (but no sign of moth!) that probably is my 'bag' to sort out ultimately. I don't have to do it now, of course, so the question I have to ask myself as (I hope) a reasonable landlord is, do I replace it now with something inexpensive but reasonably durable, and of course mothproof (so prob a synthetic, = pretty much what we had originally, and had replaced with much the same thing after our first 7 years there, so it was newish and still in good condition when we left) ... or, do I just make sure that the stair carpet it is still safe, eg where one tread needs re-pinning, and tell the tenant to clean it thoroughly for now?
I should probably check out the costs of re-carpeting now with a suitable and sufficient - but not extravagant - carpet, and then decide! I'd also want to remind the tenants that, as they are supposed to look after it sensibly, I'd expect any new carpet that I put in, to still to be in pretty good condition when the tenancy ends in just under two years' time, just as it was when they took on the place (and any new hall carpet should have a longer life expectancy than that). If they mess it up between times, then they will have to stump up put that right.
What would you do?
We also never wore outdoor shoes in the house - really for hygiene reasons when we had small kids playing on floors - which also helped to keep the various carpets to wear less and be easier to keep cleaner ...but inviting tenants to think of doing that too, is probably not going to fly!

chris a

8:43 AM, 30th September 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Cathy Gunn" at "26/09/2013 - 00:58":

To deal with moth in woollen carpet, I eventually replaced carpets with laminated floorin g in living room and bedrooms and synthetic stair carpet.
discussed with tenants beforehand and they agreed. I paid for all this, but as these were first flooring renewals after 6 years with no voids that seemed reasonable enough to me.

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