Spoke to journalist about bad rental situation


Thanks for everyone who advised me on the previous thread. I am starting a separate thread for this. I have just moved out a rental property where I lived for 3 years with my family. The relationship with the LL really soured as we had rats on the premises for 3 years. This is documented in WhatsApp, email photos and we complained to the council.

I am seeing if I can get a solicitor to represent us no win no fee but haven’t found anyone yet. I have however spoken to a journalist who is going to do a story on the situation. The rats on the house etc is well documented so I am not concerned about this. There was several rat nests in the garden. This was confirmed verbally by pest control. Parts of the garden where the rats lived were very overgrown when we moved in and I have a video to this effect. The landlady however maintained that we were responsible for the garden as per the lease.

The previous tenant has confirmed that they saw rats in the garden and we saw rats there within 3 months of moving in.

I want the article to note that the nests are in the garden so as the neighbours and future tenants know and don’t have to go through what we went through. I am wondering if I am opening myself up to any claims by mentioning the garden specifically.


Was the cause of the rats ever confirmed? Rats need a food source. Ie food in rubbish bags. Could you have contributed? Did you allow it to get worse? What did council say?

Seeing a “journalist” will result in nothing more than public landlord bashing, and contribute to the unfair labelling of all landlords. What are you hoping to achieve?


They were always in the garden and we had 5 flare-ups in 2 years where they got into the house. Pest control confirmed to me verbally that they were in the garden. As this was providing harbourage for them plus berries etc from the overgrowth was providing food.

Previous tenants told us they were in the garden when they lived there. The council wrote to the LL instructing her to resolve the issue with rats accessing the house. The council doesn’t get involved with the garden.

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Ok it certainly sounds like it’s all down to the landlord to resolve as the problem was there from the offset

Out of interest, did you consider paying for solution yourself and recover from landlord? How come you tolerated for so long?

I think there is risk of repercussions if you name someone who has not been found guilty in court.

Who’s allocated contractual responsibility of vermin and garden maintenance?

Just because the council are involved doesn’t mean the landlord is at fault .

I have been contacted by the council for rats but I have sent them my contract indicating it’s the tenant’s responsibility.
Under statute it’s the landlord responsibility. I have had to explain the law to civil servants. Environmental health are not lawyers they are civil servants who may not be familiar with the law.

I find their lack of knowledge, in some cases, alarming. I have ended up actually teaching them law!!
If I was asked to do something by the council I always used to check with my solicitor first as a lot of the time it was not necessary.

I hope you haven’t opened yourself up to legal repercussions!


The lease states that the tenant agrees to keep the property free from all pests or vermin and inform the landlord immediately of any infestation.

It also states we agree to keep the garden, paths etc regularly maintained in good and safe condition and as neat and tidy and properly tended as they were at the start of the tenancy.

Does the statute not overrule the contract anyway?

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Not in this case.
If a no win no fee solicitor won’t take up your case then that speaks volumes.
There are certain things a landlord can’t override from statute, such as structural issues, but a lot of things you can ( council tax, vermin etc)

All well recognised contracts have this clause. These are not unreasonable clauses.
Arla, landlord law, landlord association, law pack .

It costs £5 from screwfix for a box of rat bait .
If it were me I would have tidied the garden and thrown a few cubes about .

My mother gets rats in her garden from the neighbours drains .
The drains are her neighbours and thus the responsibility of the water board who have not bothered to repair them.
I just throw bait down the burrows and it gets rid of the problem.

I lived in some disgusting rentals in the days before regulation and we just got on with it . I never called my landlord. But it was a different time.


why are you bothered about it now as you have moved out? Are you after money?


No. I am concerned with doing the right thing.

You didn’t honour your contract ….

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I understand you are happy to live in a rat-infested house but I am not. We did try to resolve the issue ourselves but the poison you get from Screwfix is useless. The ratcatcher told us he saw more dead rats on our property than any other residential property.

Are you familiar with Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018?

In most circumstances, landlords are responsible for controlling a pest infestation. These circumstances include:

  • If the pest infestation was already present on the property before the date the tenants moved in
  • If the pests were able to gain access to the property due to disrepair
  • If the infestation means the home is no longer safe to live in, e.g. if their presence has caused illness
  • If there have been problems in the past and the landlord has failed to take adequate measures to prevent their return

All of these apply and most were documented although we might find it hard to prove the infestation was in place when we moved in.

which is what exactly, particularly when it comes to employing a solicitor?


It is exposing the LL for renting out a rat-infested property. It puts young children at risk of health issues. My wife has been unwell. Our property has been damaged. Not too mention the stress of having young children in a dirty environment. If she accepted any responsibility for the situation I wouldn’t bother but she hasn’t so she deserves to be exposed.

Instead LL doubling down with a BS deposit claim. LL is the one carrying this on. I want to move on.

I’m baffled as to how you think a solicitor is going to help in “exposing” the LL. When you say you are looking for a no-win-no-fee solicitor, what would a win look like?


so why wait 3 years before moving out?


Not a solicitor. I don’t even want to do that. I have given the story to a journalist. That is what I’m talking about.

a Win is money . We all know that. We are too long in the tooth to believe anything else


You’re not listening Colin


If a win is money, why are you going to a journalist? Someone will be making money out of a story like that, but it won’t be you.

Why is Colin not listening? You lived with a rat infestation for 2 years and 9 months. If I felt a house was unsafe for my children and caused my wife illness, I would be out of there as soon as the fixed term expired (or sooner if they’d accept my deed of surrender). I def wouldn’t stay there for nearly 3 years.

What was the disrepair that caused the rats to gain access?
How exactly did the presence of rats cause your wife to become ill?