Ant Infestation Tenants Took their own measures

I am an absent landlord living far from the property.

Received a WhatsApp message from tenants saying that there was an ant infestation in the lounge. They told me they got someone in to deal with it, and the infestation is now cleared. In the process the floorboards were removed and a new carpet laid (in the lounge and connecting hallway). This happened, in their words, ‘a few months back’. I’m only hearing about this now.

No mention has been made by the tenants about asking for me to pay, but they may do.

I haven’t responded as I really don’t know what to say.

My questions are:

  1. Is this the landlord’s responsibility? - no infestation when they moved in

  2. Have the tenants violated the tenancy agreement by just not contacting me?

  3. If they ask for money, do I pay?

So far, they have been good tenants. Their contracted year is nearly over. Is this a good time to ask then to leave?

I only own this one property, and am not an experienced landlord in any way.

Would really appreciate a response.

Thank you


Have they supplied you with the relevant receipts and/or warranties for the work carried out ?

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Yes, they should have told you earlier and they should probably not have done the work without your approval, (check your tenancy agreement). However, if you are an “absent” landlord, I’m not surprised that they didn’t bother consulting you. What makes you think that you can have a tenanted property without managing it? If you live far away then I would suggest you need someone closer at hand to do regular inspections and deal with any tenancy issues.

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It sounds like they may still be good tenants. It’s not ideal they didn’t tell you sooner but if they hired qualified workers and paid out of pocket to fix it - that isn’t a bad thing.

You should arrange an inspection to make sure the work was done well. If you can’t travel to the property then you should already have someone you use to do inspections of the property.

To the questions -

  1. Generally it’s only your responsibility if it’s something innate about the property. Depending on the length of the tenancy it is possible the infestation just hadn’t been identified when they moved in.

  2. What does your tenancy agreement say?

  3. Should they ask for payment and have a solid argument for why it’s your fault, ask for receipts/invoices and only pay the amount they can prove was spent.

I would suspect they intend to leave at the end of the tenancy and are telling you as they expect you’ll notice the changed carpet.

It is appropriate to ask if they intend to leave or would like to continue. You should look into the eviction process if they don’t wish to leave.

Personally I would do nothing at this stage. They’ve just let you know and haven’t asked for money. Just check it out when you do your next inspection.

  1. If the tenants are at fault for causing the infestation then they need to pay.

  2. In theory, they violated the contract but I wouldn’t bother.

  3. I wouldn’t pay anything at sl, because:
    A. How do you know if they caused the infestation or if there even was one?
    B. There was no need to change a carpet. You can pull them back normally and put them back
    C. How do you know it’s not their friend who carried out the repairs?

Something is a bit dodgy here. I suspect they might’ve wanted a new carpet and wanted you to pay for it