Tenant complaining of rats and that I can’t turn up?

by Readers Question

14:03 PM, 4th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Tenant complaining of rats and that I can’t turn up?

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Tenant complaining of rats and that I can’t turn up?

I have a question please. I have a tenant who is complaining to me about rats in the attic and wall. I’ve stopped by unannounced a few times to meet the contractors there and have knocked on her door to ask questions. She’s complaining that I don’t have a right to show up and knock unannounced. I’m not asking to enter, but just to ask questions.

I did however inform all the tenants that the contractors would be needing access over a two week period and at times it would be with short notice because of the fact that they don’t know when the rats are trapped and so they have to stop by from time to time to check the traps. Do I as a landlord have a right to step foot on my triplex building or do I always have to give notice even if I’m not looking for entry to the unit/s?

She also got upset, because I handed her 13 year old daughter her electric bill that came to me because she failed to transfer the electric in her name when she moved in. Her daughter was walking in as I was about to knock on the door. Was I wrong for asking the daughter to please give this to her mom?

Thank you for your help

Vinny



Comments

Gary Nock

14:14 PM, 4th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Hi Vinny,
'She’s complaining that I don’t have a right to show up and knock unannounced. I’m not asking to enter, but just to ask questions"

She is right. This should be in your tenancy agreement. 24 hours notice is required. In relation to the rats - its unusual to get rats in an attic. And if your inventory does not mention rats there should be a clause in your tenancy agreement which states that if there is an infestation after the start of tenancy and its not down to a hole in the roof or other structural defect then it's down to the tenant. As for the electric bill. It's just the tenant throwing a hissy fit but it indicates that she may well be trouble. Do not visit unannounced, take a witness if you do and make notes and confirm by letter. If you are unsure of your rights and responsibilities in this matter seek legal advice or use an agent.

Dylan Morris

9:11 AM, 7th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 04/05/2019 - 14:14
I disagree you don’t need to give notice just to knock the door and ask to speak to the tenant on the doorstep. Of course asking for entry is a different matter and notice would indeed be required.

Mike

12:23 PM, 7th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Rats love dirty tenants who don't bother cleaning after the food crumbs, leaving dirty utensils lying around with food half eaten, bins not being covered, floors not vacuumed, general dirt and food crumbs attracts rats, or perhaps she is working towards you allowing her to keep a cat.
Which may not be a bad idea. If you are outside her door there is absolutely nothing she can do about you knocking on her door and speaking to her regarding any issues, how would you otherwise serve her any notices or warnings in person if you had to, so you can knock on her door and speak to anyone on the premises and ask for her including any children who may answer the door. You need not enter unless allowed, but if there are communal areas you can go in any time.within those areas only.

Dylan Morris

12:38 PM, 7th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I’ll be honest Vinny I smell a rat here (excuse the pun). It’s fine to come up with a remedy for the rats but you need to find the actual cause which is likely to be your tenant. Sounds to me like you have a real problem tenant here, especially as you’re doing all you can to fix the problem and instead of being grateful your tenant is saying you can’t even call round. You need to thoroughly inspect the property, find the cause of the rat infestation and maybe looking at issuing a Section 21 if your tenant is causing the problem ......as it’ll only get worse.

Graham Bowcock

15:24 PM, 7th May 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I don't see how knocking on the door to ask some questions about a reported problem can infringe the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment. I wonder what she's hiding! If it's during reasonable hours I can't see why she would object. You can't enter unless she allows you, but before talking talk to her it may polite just to say something "do you mind telling me more about....". Obviously if she's cooking the kids' tea or just on her way to work then she won't want to talk.

As for the electric bill, the correct action would be to notify the electric company of when your responsibility ended, with dates and meter readings, then pass the supplier the tenant's name. Although you say she failed to transfer the name, so did you - and the bill's still in your name! She's not obliged to pay a bill in your name. Perhaps she's a bit pedantic, but it shows the measure of the lady you are dealing with.

Annie Landlord

9:11 AM, 8th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

I discovered we had mice in a wall when I arranged the elec safety certificate and the electrician found a switch in one room didn't work. Mice had eaten through the cable - so removing a pest infestation is a safety as well as a hygiene issue. I think you need to write to the tenant explaining this and carefully explaining if she refuses you access you will need to possess the property.

Paul Shears

18:37 PM, 8th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 07/05/2019 - 12:38
I totally agree. It sounds like you have a bad tenant there.

Mike

12:49 PM, 11th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Get rid of the real rat.

Dancinglandlord

14:24 PM, 11th May 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Rats sometimes nest in properties and that is unlikely to be the tenants’ fault. I would prefer it in my home if callers don’t call unannounced and I try to give my tenants the same courtesy. If you are meeting a pest control guy there then usually you would know in advance, granted this might be a last minute phone call, so difficult at times. I usually ask workmen to give me enough notice to let the tenants know. Dealing with the issue is relatively cheap and will win you brownie points as a landlord. Leaving it will do the opposite. For me it’s not a matter of what’s legal, it’s a matter of commercial sense. Retained tenants save a lot of hassle


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