Pests and vermin
No one wants unexpected visitors in their home. Here's our advise for pest control.
If you have rats in or around your home, the council will get rid of them – for free.
We are available to take your calls from 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday: 020 7364 5000.
We treat rat infestations for free, but we usually charge for treating mice. What’s the difference between rats and mice?
Prevention is better than cure
Any home can have a problem with pests or vermin, however careful you are and how often you clean your home. But you can reduce the chances of infestation.
- Ask your landlord to block up any holes in the brickwork, roof, skirting boards and floorboards to prevent pests getting into your home.
- Never leave food or rubbish lying around
- Keep your garden tidy
What if you already have mice, bedbugs, or other pests?
If you caused the problem, try to solve it
If you caused the problem, then you will probably have to sort it out. This might be because you didn't clear away rubbish or leftover food, or because you brought beg bugs into your home on old bedding or clothes.
You can contact the council’s pest control department for advice. The council can also treat the problem for you – although the council charges for most treatments. The council’s pest control services are all free for state pensioners who live on their own or with another pensioner. You will need to show proof when we visit. See our pest control pages for more information
Shelter has further advice about dealing with the problem yourself
If your landlord is responsible for the problem, they must solve it
Your landlord is responsible for dealing with infestations of pests and vermin if:
- Pests can get in because of disrepair such as a hole in the wall or badly fitted pipes; or
- Your tenancy agreement says your landlord should make sure the property is fit to live in; or
- You live in a furnished home and the pests were there before your tenancy started
If you think your landlord is responsible, report the problem to them as soon as possible. Make it clear why you think they are responsible.
You can tell the landlord about the problem in person, by phone or by text. You should also write to them or email them to confirm the details. Keep a record of and letters, texts or emails between you and your landlord. Make a note of the time and date if you speak to them on the phone
Allow your landlord reasonable time to do the work once you have reported the problem.
What your landlord should do
If your landlord is responsible for the infestation, they must take steps to deal with it reasonably quickly. They should:
- Pay for pest control specialists;
- Fix any holes in the wall or floor that allow rats, mice or other pests to enter;
- Fix any problems the pests have caused, such as damage to electrical wiring, pipes or brickwork that have been chewed through
If your landlord is responsible but won’t sort it out, get advice from one of the agencies signed up to the Private Renters’ Charter.
If it's serious, report it to the council’s environmental health service
Pests and vermin can be a health and safety hazard.
If the infestation is a serious risk to your health or safety, the council can:
- get rid of the pests and charge you or your landlord for the work
- serve a notice ordering your landlord to deal with the problem
- warn your landlord that they are aware of a problem
- advise you of the best way to deal with the problem
Contact the council about your dangerous or unhealthy home on 020 7364 5000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What if the problem is coming from a neighbour’s home?
You can ask your neighbour to deal with pests or vermin that are coming from their home.
If your neighbour rents their home, you can also report the problem to their landlord.
You can contact the council’s environmental health service if your neighbour or their landlord doesn't fix the problem. Environmental health can serve a notice ordering your neighbours to deal with the issue. If they don't, the council can arrange for work to be done and charge your neighbours or their landlord for it.
If you want to move out
If you want to move out due to problems with pests and vermin, you must end your tenancy properly. You will be responsible for paying the rent if you don’t.
Find out how to end a:
If you need free advice about dealing with infestations in your rented home, you can contact any of the agencies signed up the charter.
All of the agencies signed up to the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter promise to find the best way to improve your situation and the most effective action to take against landlords who break the rules.