I read about an interesting case the other day concerning a landlord who was querying some requests made by the tenant of his terraced house.

Over just a couple of months the tenant requested call outs to clear a blocked drain and to deal with two mice infestations.  The landlord was enquiring whether these calls were justified and if they were in fact his responsibility.

In my view the tenant has to accept their share of responsibilities.  It turned out that the blocked drain was the result of an accumulation wet wipes which should not have been flushed in the toilet.  I would explain that this was the cause and that if it happens again the tenant will be expected to pay the bill for clearing the drain.

The case of the mice infestation is an interesting one and a little more complex.  How and why the mice are in the property needs to be looked at.

If the mice were already in the property when the tenant moved in then it is clearly the responsibility of the landlord to deal with them.  Similarly, if they have got in because there are holes in the floor or walls then the landlord is responsible for getting rid of them.

However, if the infestation is a result of the tenant’s lifestyle, not clearing rubbish or leaving leftover food around for instance, then it is a different matter.  In that case it would be the tenant’s responsibility to rectify the matter at their expense.

A diplomatic approach is called for in any instance and once again I would emphasise the importance of an agent being involved to maintain good landlord/tenant relations.