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Pest infestation can be extremely distressing for residents and of significant difficulty for landlords to resolve.

Discover guidance and case studies to help you understand this key topic.

Pests in a property

Pest infestation can be extremely distressing for residents and of significant difficulty for landlords to resolve. 

Landlord's should have a policy for treating and responding to a pest infestation in homes. Whether a landlord is responsible for treating pest infestations may depend on factors such as where the infestation is coming from or the cause of the infestation. 

Reporting pests in your home

In the first instance, report the matter to your landlord and check the information on your landlord’s website. You can get further guidance from your local authority’s environmental health department, which also has obligations to deal with pests. 

Let your landlord know as soon as possible if you see signs of an infestation in your home.  


Landlord guidance

This expectations document sets out what landlords are expected to do when there is an infestation, whether that be in a home or communal area 

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Resident guidance

This expectations document sets out what landlords and residents should do when there is an infestation, whether that be in a home or communal area. 

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Case studies

The case studies are examples from our case work. We will always try to show one example where the landlord did things right and received a finding of no maladministration and an example where a landlord didn’t act in the correct way and received a finding of severe maladministration or maladministration.    

No maladministration

In this case, the landlord acted appropriately by attending the home the day after it was reported, and then subsequently visited regularly to eradicate the pests – this included a follow up inspection to ensure that the problem was completely resolved. 

After the works took place and the landlord was satisfied the pests had gone, it cleaned and disinfected the home as well as offering appropriate compensation for the trouble caused during this period. 

During these works the landlord also allowed the resident to stay elsewhere, showing it took their concerns seriously.  

Read the full case (opens in a new tab)

Severe maladministration

In this case, the Ombudsman found severe maladministration because the landlord repeatedly failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the reports and take appropriate remedial action to prevent further infestation. 

The landlord had been aware of the pest infestation for some time but did not carry out repairs quickly enough to prevent the resident from further distress and inconvenience. 

Once it was established that more works needed to be done to stop entry in the roof, the works were not carried out satisfactorily, with one contractor falling through the ceiling. A year later, the resident was still chasing the landlord. 

When the landlord did carry out another inspection, it found no signs of infestation but some of the rodent access point blocking had been dislodged. On the back of this, the landlord’s pest controller recommended it carry out monthly inspections. However, the landlord referred to “washing their hands” of the matter as it did not think there was anything it could do to prevent further infestations. 

Six years after originally reporting the issue, and four years after the first recorded inspection, the resident complained the rats had returned and that there were structural issues outstanding. The works were only completed a year after this. 

Among the issues was that it could be considered the landlord did not believe the problem was present to the extent explained by the resident. For example, the landlord occasionally attributed the noise to wind. 

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Resident information

When to use the Housing Ombudsman Service 

If you are unable to resolve the complaint with your landlord directly via its complaint procedure, this service may be able to provide you with further assistance.    

View the residents' pages to find out how to raise and complaint to your landlord and when to escalate your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service.  

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