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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70414
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi, I am renting a property for 4 years in UK. I clean it over

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Hi, I am renting a property for 4 years in UK. I clean it over the weekends myself. However becuase of some snide remarks from my landlady with respect to a few juice stains on the carpet, I decided to get it professionally cleaned. The cleaners came in today and they told me there is a moth infestation in the flat and the carpet is being eaten up, something that became clear when they started to use a much more powerful hoover then mine. We found one moth around as well. I got the cleaning stopped becuase it was begining to damage the carpet. I am planning to let my Land lady (who is actually not a landlady but an agent) know about this but I am concerned she will say it is all my fault and ask me to pay up for both Pest control and carpet replacement. Please can u advise on what my rights are? She is even asking me to share the expense of repairing the flat downstairs which got damaged becuase of a leakage in my bathroom which was not detectatable by me, on the grounds that I shd have told her about it. Please advise me. I am single and alone and a foreigner and she tends to be pushy .

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What type of contract do you have?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi I have a one year rolling contract


Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



You are not liable for the cost of replacing the roof downstairs. The leakage from the bathroom is a structural issue unless you were doing something literally extraordinary. She is liable for structural repairs.

Infestation is different though. There is an argument that a tenant who has spent a goodly time in the property is liable for any infestation unless it can be proven to have been there previously which is always very difficult. Sometimes it is possible with moths though.

Generally speaking infestation is caused by the occupation of a house not the maintenance of its structure. Obviously that is not necessarily caused by the current tenant but the longer a tenant has been there the more likely it is that it can be blamed upon him.

You could probably negotiate with the landlord over this though as there's no way you are liable for the leaking roof.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



My Landlady (agent) has a knack of making all wrongs of her right. When I took the apartment, I had asked for A dishwasher. Further I was told the apartment will be fully professionally cleaned and it will have fresh paint. I did not get the dishwsher on moving in. On asking for it, she asked me to share the expense. I told her I was not happy in an email- she apologised but didnt do anything about it. Further, I found the oven, the washing machine to be dirty. The apartment also had lots of dirty greasy utensils which had been washed but which still had food items clinging to it. On the outside it was all clean but not really clean as I started to use this. I complained to her and she got her cleaning lady to comeover and do some preliminary cleaning. She has gotten away with a lot becuase I am soft person. But in case of carpets that are expensive to replace, I want to know my rights. How do I decide what is a reasonable amount to pay. My guess is the carpets are 6 year old atleast.


Please advise

If they are six years old then they won't be worth much anyway

She cannot replace old with new at your expense. If you have caused damage to old carpets then the court works out a percentage reduction that reflects the age of the carpets. Usually the reduction is 20% per year so you would end up paying almost nothing anyway
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is it possible to confirm that the court allows 20% of reduction per year? Are there any citations available. In that case, should my next step be asking for the receipts for the existing carpets, which show installation date?

Further can she claim money from me and not replace the carpets. ? Do I have a right to see if she really did replace anything?

1. No, its not from case law. Its just a general principle of law

2. Yes, she is allowed to do that.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you- Valuable advise.

Why is moth infestation not cosidered a normal things for carpets? My carpet cleaners said i cannot do much to prevent it unless i get carpets steam cleaned every six months.


Also my landlady has been throwing remarks suggesting I get the house professionally cleaned at my expense. My contarct says I need to keep the place neat and clean but doesnt say- professionally cleaned unless upon exit. Should I have gotten the carpets cleaned professionally every six months?

No, there's no need to get the carpets cleaned professionally but there is a need to keep them moth free I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

By Implication- is the pest control then my responsibility?

Is replacing carpets in this kind of situation covered by landlords insurance?

Yes, pest control is down to the tenant if they have lived there a reasonable length of time unless it can be prove the pests were there before.

It may be covered by her insurance but she can still claim that from you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I dont want to casue her any loss. I will want to pay my fair share.


What happens if she cannot give me proof of the age of the carpet? I know it has to be atleast 6 years old as I know that the tenant before me had inherited a used carpet as I have seen their exit report.


This apartment is 14 years old and still has almost the same furniture and fixture as from the time of it being built.





Then the court would make an assessment upon the age of the carpet. She won't be able to prove the age of the carpet now. The worst that will happen is that the court will say it is six years old.

I'll be happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Jo C. and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So it may so happen that I may have to pay an amount depending on the age of the carpet but she will still have the insurance to help her replace so she doesnt lose out. I hope I have understood it right.


However can different courts take different views of the rate of depreciation of the carpets? Can a court say the rate of depreciation is 10%? I am sure this is the cheapest , most commerical carpet available. Can there be a discussion of rate of depreciations and what can I do to influence that?


1 She won't be able to claim if that happens. The insurance company would have to as they are the losers. Whether they would bother is another matter but most likely she will not claim as she will not want to risk the insurance increase.

2 Landlords do tend to use cheap carpets in their rental properties. A court can say the rate of depreciation is 10% but its not likely given that most other courts accept its 20% a year.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You have been most helpful.


One last question. Can she ask for repair cost instead of replacement value? It is possible that replacement cost of this carpet may be nothing but the repair cost may be a few hundered pounds


Yes, she could do that but she will only get away with claiming the cheapest. She is under a duty to mitigate her loss properly.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What does "claiming the cheapest" mean? Lower of replacement vs Repairs?

Yes, exactly. Thats right.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you v much. Very balanced advise.

No problem.

All the best.